Private Held

Reckitt, Rachel

(1908 – 1995)

Girl having her hair combed, c.1960

Signed
Oil on board 

39 1/2 x 29 1/4 in. (100 x 74 cm.)

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Private collection, Norfolk

Provenance: Private collection, Norfolk
In orginal wooden batten frame with linen slip

This striking composition was painted around 1960 in the basement kitchen of a large house on the canal side near Regent’s Park, London. The model was a Nigerian student nurse.   The painting is one of a series of conversation pieces that the artist undertook in the 1960’s, which included subjects such as boys on bicycles, queues at bakers, gossiping women in the street. 

For the subject of this painting Reckitt might well have been inspired by The Maids 
(Les Bonnes) a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet, first performed at the Thé√¢tre de l’Athénée in Paris in a production that opened on 17 April 1947.  In turn Reckitt’s painting might have been the inspiration for Paula Reago’s ‘The Maids’ which bears a striking resemblance:

Reckitt was a highly individual and versatile artist working as a painter, sculptor – in mild steel, wood, and stone – and print maker.  She was born in St
Albans, Hertfordshire and studied at the Grosvenor School of Modern
Art in late 1930s under lain Macnab, and in 1970-75 at the Roadwater
Smithy, Somerset, with Harry and Jim Horrobin.  After training Reckitt
worked from home in west Somerset at Rodhuish, Minehead. She carried out
commissions for pub signs; wood-engraved book illustrations and single
prints; and did sculpture in five Somerset churches and for private
commission. She was an honorary member of the Somerset Guild of
Craftsmen and SWE and a member of British Artist Blacksmiths’
Association. Other group shows included Wertheim Gallery and LG. Had
solo exhibitions at Duncan Campbell Contemporary Art and Bridgwater
Arts Centre. A retrospective publication, Rachel Reckitt: where
everything that meets the eye… appeared in zoos, Hal Bishop’s survey
of her work, supported by Somerset County Museums Service and the
Golsoncott Foundation, accompanying shows in Taunton, Glastonbury and
Exeter. Public collections in Salford and Bridgwater hold examples, as
do Withycombe, Old Cleeve and Leighland.

We are grateful to Hal Bishop for assistance and the Golsoncott Foundation (who hold Reckitt’s copyright).  Additionally we are grateful to Rebecca and Alistair Hicks.

Exhibited:  Rachel Reckitt, ‘Where Everything that meets the eye … A retrospective’, 2001.

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THE ARTIST

Reckitt, Rachel

1908 – 1995

Artist in mild steel, wood, stone, paint and wood engraving, born in St Albans, Hertfordshire. She studied at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in late 1930s under lain Macnab, and in 1970-5 at the Roadwater Smithy, Somerset, with Harry and Jim Horrobin. After training Reckitt worked from home in west Somerset at Rodhuish, Minehead. Carried out commissions for pub signs; wood-engraved book illustrations and single prints; and did sculpture in five Somerset churches and for private commission. She was an honorary member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen and SWE and a member of British Artist Blacksmiths’ Association. Other group shows included Wertheim Gallery and LG. Had solo exhibitions at Duncan Campbell Contemporary Art and Bridgwater Arts Centre. A retrospective publication, Rachel Reckitt: where everything that meets the eye… appeared in zoos, Hal Bishop’s survey of her work, supported by Somerset County Museums Service and the Golsoncott Foundation, accompanying shows in Taunton, Glastonbury and Exeter. Public collections in Salford and Bridgwater hold examples, as do Withycombe, Old Cleeve and Leighland.

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