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Cowling, Clara

(1868 – 1946)

Portrait of Evelyn Dunbar

Oil on canvas
13 1/2 x 13 in. (34.2 x 33 cm)

DESCRIPTION

Provenance:
Roger Folley; Alasdair Dunbar; Hammer Mill Oast Collection

Literature: Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, Christopher Campbell-Howes, October 2016, page 61. 

Florence Dunbar (Evelyn’s mother) and her sister Clara Cowling, both originally from Bradford, painted with the energy of the enthusiastic amateur, Clara perhaps more adventurously than Florence, who found her niche in endless floral still-lifes. The attribution of this portrait of Dunbar, relaxing in a pink dress under a parasol in the garden at The Cedars (the family home in Strood), is authenticated by a photograph in the Dunbar family album of Clara Cowling painting it. The photograph also shows Paul, the Dunbars’ dog, trying to jump up on to Evelyn’s lap, something perhaps beyond the reach of her Aunt Clara’s brush.

We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes for assistance.

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THE ARTIST

Cowling, Clara

1868 – 1946

Clara Cowling, nŽ e Murgatroyd, b. Bradford c.1868, d.Tunbridge Wells 1946.

Married Josiah Stead Cowling, a wealthy Bradford woolmaster, c. 1894.

She was Florence Dunbar’s older sister, thus Evelyn Dunbar’s aunt.

An amateur painter and energetic gardener, she moved from Ilkley on her husband’s retirement to Steellands, an estate in Ticehurst, E.Sussex in 1920.

She supported Evelyn financially in the lean years, 1930-40, to an unknown extent.

A committed Christian Scientist, she wrote trenchant articles on faith healing for the Christian Science Monitor. She visited Boston, Mass., home of Christian Science, in 1916.

With thanks to artbiogs.co.uk

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