John Lavery: A Painter and His World Hardcover – Illustrated, 8 Apr 2010
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About the Author
A specialist in British, Irish and French painting at the turn of the twentieth century, Kenneth McConkey is the author of many articles and books. He has selected, catalogued or contributed to exhibitions on the work of Henry La Thangue, George Clausen, John Lavery, William Orpen, Alfred East and other artists associated with Impressionism in Britain, most recently in shows such as 'The Painters in Grez-sur-Loing' (2000) and 'The Glasgow Boys' (2010). His books include 'Edwardian Portraits', (1987), 'British Impressionism' (1989), 'A Free Spirit, Irish Art, 1860-1960' (1990), 'Sir John Lavery', (1993), 'Memory and Desire', (2002) and 'The New English, A History of the New English Art Club', (2006). His lifelong interest in Lavery began as a boy being taken to Belfast Art Gallery and Museum by his mother.
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Top Customer Reviews
The cover illustrates two aspects of Lavery's life - his adoration of Velazquez, and his adoration of his beautiful young American wife, whose portrait this is, and whom he painted constantly throughout their life together, even when she lay, still beautiful, prematurely dying, only 6 years after the cover portrait. His last homage to her was to paint her closed coffin lying in their house, which he titled "It is finished".
Any life story which begins with a poor, orphan, Irish boy sleeping homeless on the streets of Glasgow, and ends with Knighthood and the painter of Kings and Hollywood, is obviously the very stuff of romantic fiction, but it gets even better; his adored Hazel was snatched from him initially by her disapproving parents, and swiftly married off to a successful American Physician - only for the poor fellow to promptly die of pneumonia even before their first child was born, whereupon she and Lavery made clandestine contact; and at the first opportunity she happily made her determined way back to him, complete with daughter, whom Lavery also adored, and who cared for him in his final years. There is still more woven into this tale, including the Irish question. Both Lavery and his wife felt strongly about Ireland (she was irish-American) - even jointly writing to rebuke Churchill (he and Lavery had painted each other's portraits) and to correctly prophesy the disastrous effect of his policies in 1921.Read more ›
It is well laid out and informative , the quality of the reproductions are very good on the whole ,however, it must be said that the images of his work are on the small side, even when they are placed on one entire page. This is disappointing as from the cover image one expects luscious glossy full page images to enjoy his rapid brushwork.
Overall though its a cracking good account of this master painters oeuvre.
The book put the painting in a social and historical context, and explained the circumstances of how the painter was in that place at that time