Evelyn Dunbar (1906-1960):
Design for Garderner's Choice, N.12 - circa 1935
Framed (ref: 3936)
Pen and ink on buff paper, 4.5 in. (11 cm.) diameter
In a fine gilded oak frame with peg joints.
Provenance: Elizabeth Bulkeley.
This is likely to be an early design for Gardener's Choice,
a collaboration between Charles Mahoney and Evelyn Dunbar, produced during 1937; the book was published at the end of the same year by Routledge. The full page illustrations were produced by Mahoney, the vignettes and much of the text by Dunbar. As Elizabeth Bulkeley notes in her biographical essay, “They presented the plants that they liked to draw, paint and grow. The were sculptural and bold, yet subtle, and unusual for their time. Each was described lovingly, as if in sharing their favourite plants they were sharing their mutual happiness."
Evelyn Dunbar studied at Rochester and Chelsea Schools of Art and Royal College of Art, 1929-33. A member of the Society of Mural Painters, she painted murals at Brockley County School, Kent, 1933-36, and at the Training College, Bletchley, in Buckinghamshire, 1956-7. During Word War II she was an Official War Artist, and is known especially for her paintings of the Women's Land Army. She was a visiting teacher at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford, from 1949. Latterly she concentrated on portraits. There was a strong pastoral theme in Dunbar's work, and she was an apt choice, with Charles Mahoney, to illustrate Gardener's Choice, in 1937. In 1941 she illustrated A Book of Farmcraft by Michael Greenhill, designed to help the novice farmhand and Land Girls tackle jobs on the land with greater proficiency and safety. She showed with and was a member of the NEAC and Goupil Gallery. The Imperial War Museum, Tate and Manchester City Art Gallery hold her work. She died near her home, Staple Farm, Hastingleigh, near Wye, Kent.