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Dunbar, Evelyn

(1906 – 1960)

Design for vignette of stylised house and garden for Gardeners Choice

Signed with studio stamp, inscribed with instructions

Pen and ink
7 x 5 1/2 in. (17.8 x 14 cm)

DESCRIPTION

Literature: Gardeners’ Choice, by Evelyn Dunbar and Charles Mahoney, with a previously unpublished preface by Edward Bawden and with a new afterword by Christopher Campbell-Howes, Persephone Books, London 2015. This little house and garden, with a stout person striding up to the front door, maybe owes something to the more whimsical designs of their friend Edward Bawden. The topiary cockerel or cockyolly bird in the foreground is perhaps Dunbar’s greeting to Mahoney, whom she sometimes addressed as cock’ in the Mockney they shared (‘Wotcher, Cock!’ and Dear Matey Cock’ when writing to him). This vignette appears on page 27 of Gardeners’ Choice.

We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes for assistance.

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THE ARTIST

Dunbar, Evelyn

1906 – 1960

Evelyn Dunbar studied at Rochester School of Art, Chelsea School
of Art (1927) and the Royal College of Art (1929’33). She painted
murals from 1933 -36 at Brockley School, a collaboration with her
RCA tutor (and lover) Cyril Mahoney (1903’1968) and in 1937
they wrote and illustrated together Gardeners’ Choice. 

In 1938 she set up the Blue Gallery in Rochester, exhibiting her
own work alongside that of Edward Bawden (1903’1989) and
Barnett Freedman (1901’1958) and others. In 1940 she was
appointed an official war artist, becoming the only woman (amongst
36 men) to be given a full time salaried position by the WAAC. 

She held her only solo exhibition at Withersdane, Wye, Kent
in 1953, although the WAAC included numerous pieces in touring
exhibitions ranging from Aberdeen Art Gallery to MOMA, New York. 

A posthumous exhibition was held in 2006 at St Barbe
Museum and Art Gallery, and in 2015 Liss Llewellyn mounted a
major retrospective of her recently rediscovered studio at Pallant
House Gallery. 

MORE PICTURES BY ARTIST

Evelyn Dunbar
Study for July, Gardeners Diary 1938, 1937
£1,850.00
Evelyn Dunbar
Studies for Mercatora, an allegorical painting (whereabouts unknown) [HMO 173]
£2,500.00
Evelyn Dunbar
Colour study for sub-gallery spandrels at Brockley County School for Boys [HMO 551]
£2,350.00
Evelyn Dunbar
Portrait of the artist Margaret Goodwin
£2,950.00