Mavis Pope (1932)
Photo: Paul Carter      
© Richard Eurich Paintings

Mavis Pope

1932

Oil on canvas laid on panel
27.5 x 24.4 cm

Private Collection, UK

More details...


Recto: Signed and dated upper right: R. Eurich 1932

Verso: Inscribed "Mavis Pope 1932 Richard Eurich"

Other measurements: 27.5 x 24.4 cm [REP]; 28.6 x 25.4 cm

Cat: REP0101

blonde hair head and shoulders necklace women woman female

It can take a leap of imagination to think of one’s grandparents as young people in love. Black and white photographs may capture something but it is definitely a moment in the past. I am very fortunate to have a portrait in oils to conjure my grandmother, Mavis, not only in colour but caught by the eye of my grandfather, Richard Eurich. His younger sister, Evelyn, was at teacher-training college with Nana and it was she who introduced them. Who knows if it was love at first sight or if she caught his artists eye, but Popa asked if he …

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It can take a leap of imagination to think of one’s grandparents as young people in love. Black and white photographs may capture something but it is definitely a moment in the past. I am very fortunate to have a portrait in oils to conjure my grandmother, Mavis, not only in colour but caught by the eye of my grandfather, Richard Eurich. His younger sister, Evelyn, was at teacher-training college with Nana and it was she who introduced them. Who knows if it was love at first sight or if she caught his artists eye, but Popa asked if he could paint her portrait.

Two years later they were married!

The painting glows with the simple health of youth. This is a moment as fresh as the present. The curves of her cheeks and the brightness of her eyes are delicate and unsophisticated. The dark panel of the background to the left sharply delineates the swell of her cheek and the curl of her simple haircut and the paler two-thirds of the backdrop is gentle. I feel that he might reach out to cup her face in his hand as the darkness shapes her silhouette, turning her to face him before turning her back for him to continue his work.

There is a trust between artist and subject which I tune into as I imagine what she was thinking. We have this lovely painting as a clue to what he was thinking and feeling. I love the sense that the very request he makes is a first declaration of romantic interest. Was she flirting in response when she agreed to sit for him? Nana was beautiful but this is so much more than the portrait of a lovely young woman when one knows the story behind it. 

REP / JN

Mavis wrote in her memoir how she met Richard for the first time in 1932:

"On one of my evening excursions I met a lively Yorkshire woman (Evelyn Eurich). When she heard I was an Art lecturer she suggested taking me to meet her brother who was a painter. He lived in an attic-studio in Earls Court. We climbed 4 flights of stairs and were met by a quiet man with a gentle smile. Richard was very different from his boisterous sister but they were obviously very fond of each other. The studio was a trifle chaotic but we …

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Mavis wrote in her memoir how she met Richard for the first time in 1932:

"On one of my evening excursions I met a lively Yorkshire woman (Evelyn Eurich). When she heard I was an Art lecturer she suggested taking me to meet her brother who was a painter. He lived in an attic-studio in Earls Court. We climbed 4 flights of stairs and were met by a quiet man with a gentle smile. Richard was very different from his boisterous sister but they were obviously very fond of each other. The studio was a trifle chaotic but we drank tea and talked for an hour or so. When we left Richard said to me “Would you come and let me paint your portrait?” I agreed and during the sessions that followed we felt we had got to know each other – not that he talked much as he painted but I usually stayed for a while after the sitting. When the picture was finished I felt that I would miss the quiet sessions."

Provenance

EXHIBITED | 15th Mar to 26th Apr 2003

"Richard Eurich (1903-1992) Visionary Artist" - Millais Gallery, Southampton Institute (now Solent University), toured to Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth and The Fine Art Society, London

Cat 18, illustrated

IN COLLECTION | 2018

Private Collection, UK

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Provenance:

  • IN COLLECTION - 2018 - Private Collection, UK

Exhibitions:

  • 15th Mar to 26th Apr 2003 - "Richard Eurich (1903-1992) Visionary Artist", Millais Gallery, Southampton Institute (now Solent University), toured to Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth and The Fine Art Society, London
    Cat 18, illustrated

Notes:

  • None recorded.

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References:

  • The Art of Richard Eurich (Andrew Lambirth, pub. 2020: Lund Humphries, 170 colour illustrations, ISBN 9781848221727) [fig 22, pg 36]
  • “Richard Eurich (1903-1992) Visionary Artist” (Edward Chaney and Christine Clearkin (contributions by James Hyman, David McCann and Peyton Skipwith), pub. 2003: Paul Holberton Publishing, ISBN 1903470110) [Cat 18, illustrated]