WILHELMINA BARNS-GRAHAM – St Andrews and St Ives and Mrs Rogers

Below is a favourite diary entry by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham dated Oct 30th 1945. We have transcribed this with the permsission of the Barns-Graham Charitable Trust in light of the current exhibition we are holding (which ties in with the exhibition at Penlee House, Penzance 10 September – 19 November 2016, titled Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: A Scottish Artist in St Ives and the St Ives September Festival 2016. 

This entry is very relevant to us as the portrait of Mrs Rogers hangs in our exhibition and many in the town have come to see her. It is striking on many levels and the entry below alludes to this.

Mrs Rogers / The Sloop

I am painting in the Sloop. This is a job. The light is poor and time limited. 2.45-4pm. I hope to keep this a decorative composition. On a different colour scheme to my recent paintings using:

Aureole Yellow
Alizarin Crimson
Viridian Green

She is a handsome clear-cut woman with most distinctive hair dressing and a charming attractive personality. Tall and angular. With a sensuous mouth yet almost hard faced. Something of the Duchess of Windsor style. So she had often been told and I can see it.

Mrs Rogers gives me tea after upstairs in a tiny well furnished room obviously the larder. A wonderful orange russet thick carpet and when the light is on it, oh!

barnsgraham_portraitofmrsrodgers_sloopinn_c1945_belgravePortrait of Mrs Rogers – Sloop Inn c1945
75 x 63 cms; Oil on canvas
Provenance: The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust

Janet Axten of St Ives Archive held a talk during the festival where more entries were read. The audience throughly enjoyed this way of looking at the artist and we heard some wonderful stories recounted in the week.

September 13th ST IVES ARTS CLUB, Westcott’s Quay 1 – 2.15pm
Wilhelmina Barns-Graham in her own words 
The Scottish artist who came to St Ives in 1940 was a constant letter writer and kept a diary of her early life in the town. Janet Axten, Heritage Manager, St Ives Archive, reads excerpts from these papers. They give a vivid insight into wartime life and the artists that she met. Supported by The Barns-Graham Charitable Trust. (This replaces the programme entry ‘Talk: In Search of Wilhelmina Barns-Graham’ by Lynne Green)

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