Friday, 14 December 2012

Boots, Boots

These boots were made for gardening. They are the boots of Miss Gertrude Jekyll, eloquently painted in 1920 by the great William Nicholson. I was put in mind of them when I read about the national art collection - i.e. every publicly owned painting in the land - having been made available online. They're all there, and as some 80 per cent of them are normally hidden from public view in storage and office space, this is excellent news - the kind of thing that only the internet can do. The exercise has thrown up some interesting finds too - not least the identity of the artist with the largest number (by miles) of publicly owned paintings. Any guesses? Turner perhaps? No - it's Herbert Barnard John Everett (me neither), a maritime painter, who left a vast amount of his work to the National Maritime Museum. And the boots? The boots are the subject of this painting, which resides in the National Football Museum and is the work of one Doris Brand, of whom nothing is known. It's rather a fine painting - but who was she? And who, come to that, was Christopher?

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