NEWS | Fri, 02 Dec 2022

Portrait of a Friend and Patron

Catalogue visitor fills in the story behind a puzzling painting

There was a painting by Richard titled 'Portrait of a Man'. We had known it for decades and it had always puzzled us. Who was this person? What was his connection to Richard? When could it have been painted? Why?

© Richard Eurich Paintings

A little while ago we came across an old photo in Richard's archive. The man in the photo looked like the man in the painting. Progress? Not really. There was nothing written on the back.

Then we put this painting online, along with over a thousand others, in the catalogue raisonné.  Someone browsing through them got in touch with us via their daughter. "How wonderful to see all those Richard Eurich works, he was so clever and so many styles, wow! Rather exciting amongst the 1930s is a “portrait of a man” which I am 100% certain is Prior Lovelock, my aunt Queenie's husband! "

Our correspondent also confirmed that the man in the photo is Prior. Prior and his wife Queenie were among the most enthusiastic of Richard's patrons, buying several early works.

From some newspaper cuttings sent by Prior's neice, we learned that Prior and Richard knew each other from Bradford Grammar School. Prior was a master there when Richard was a student. Prior married a fellow staff member, Queenie, and at some point the Eurich and Lovelock families got to know each other, probably because both families lived in Ilkley.

The icing on the cake to this story is that the painting is mentioned, we believe, in Richard's memoir: "A great friend of mine offered himself as a model if I wanted some practice so I painted a life-size head and shoulders of him." This places the date of the painting around 1926, not in the early 1930s as we first guessed.

Prior's relative wrote to us: 'How thrilling to have helped solve the mystery of Portrait of A Man! And how lovely for Prior to have his identity returned. Perhaps it should be labelled Portrait of a Friend (Charles ‘Prior‘ Lovelock)."

We agree.