Stanley Lewis (1905 - 2009):
The Welsh Dresser, 1955
Framed (ref: 2929)
Oil on canvas, 36 x 22 in. (92 x 56 cm.)
Provenance: from the artist's own collection.
Exhibited: Royal Academy 1955 (158); Arts Council of great Britain Welsh Committee, 4th Open Exhibition of Contemporary Welsh Painting and Sculpture 1957, National Museum of Wales Cardiff, (no. 5); The Unknown Artist: Stanley Lewis and his contemporaries, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum, 12th June - 5th September 2010..cat.no.77
Stanley was fascinated by Flemish 17th century painting, especially Rembrandt and Jan Steen, and visited Holland several times.
The joint of ham in this painting was Sally, a family pet pig, who ran riot around the one acre garden at Orchard House in Llanstephan, until she terrorized and bit Mr Rice the Postman and had to be slaughtered.
The composition - a dresser in the corner of the huge farmhouse kitchen at Orchard House - was painted at the suggestion of Min – “The vast Welsh dresser was so big it must have been constructed for the house in the room. It was colossal. Walking and observing it I thought, "yes Min is right, it would make a good picture" and so I bought my first canvas and it was the first painting I did at Orchard House.‘. I placed Jennifer's beloved black doll, Sambo, on the old Welsh settle and placed the Staffordshire dog, which I still own, near the dish of eggs that came from my own flock of chickens. I was so amused when I saw it at the Royal Academy and saw Sally our wonderful pig next to the Queen's official portrait. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed painting this picture and felt free again, far better than stripping old wallpaper and plaster patching and painting Orchard house's enormous rooms.