Sir Kyffin Williams, R.A. (British, 1918-2006) Portrait of John Evans 36 x 28 in. (91.5 x 71 cm.)

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Lot 10
Sir Kyffin Williams, R.A.
(British, 1918-2006)
Portrait of John Evans 36 x 28 in. (91.5 x 71 cm.)

Sold for £ 14,400 (US$ 19,849) inc. premium
Sir Kyffin Williams, R.A. (British, 1918-2006)
Portrait of John Evans
signed with initials 'KW' (lower left)
oil on canvas
36 x 28 in. (91.5 x 71 cm.)

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Private Collection, U.K.

    LITERATURE:
    Kyffin Williams, Portraits, Gomer Press, 1996, p.43

    'Many years ago when the Slade School of Art returned to its home in London after a wartime evacuation to Oxford, its secretary asked me if I could find accommodation for a Welsh student who was sleeping every night in the waiting room of Paddington station. I said that I would try to help and he arranged a meeting. I was surprised when I saw John Evans for he was not an obvious student, being in his mid-forties and with a confidence suitable for one of his years. He had a magnificent and almost noble head that made him look like a cross between Picasso and a Roman emperor. When he spoke his voice had the resonance of a great actor or an archbishop. It was unfortunate that he had a terrible stammer but curiously it was only to be heard when he spoke in English and never when he spoke in Welsh. Later he told me that he was brought up on a farm in Cardiganshire and only spoke Welsh for the first years of his life. When he was about eight years of age, a Cambridge professor stayed in the farm and taught him to speak English with a distinctive upper-class accent, and maybe this strange unnatural imposition had caused him to stammer. John Evans was always short of money but this may have been due to the fact that he spent more of his time in the bar of the Duke of Wellington in Gower Street than in the life classes at the Slade. His wife, an elegant ballet dancer, lived in Devon, while John slept where he could in London. It was a strange relationship, with Joan, his wife, spending many hours in telephone boxes waiting for her errant husband to contact her. I managed to get John Evans temporary accommodation in my lodgings in Highgate but Mary Josling, my kind old landlady, appeared to disapprove of my wild fellow-countryman who had a habit of bringing to her house his noisy and inebriated friends at any hour of day or night. I understood when she asked him to leave. I accompanied him to Paddington station and as his train to Devon disappeared into the London fog I heard him shout, 'I will be back. Mark my words, boy, and when I come back I will split the artistic atom.' John Evans was one of the memorable characters of my life. He was kind yet improvident, imaginative yet impractical, talented but unable to use what had been given to him. Some people would have called him a magnificent failure but to me he was just a magnificent character from a country happily-blessed with many such as he'. (Kyffin Williams, Portraits, Gomer Press, 1996, p.43)

    We are grateful to Nicholas Sinclair for his assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.
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