Sarah Colegrave

Florence (1965 United Kingdom)

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Oil on canvas


Signed and dated '65

Width 76.00cm wide [29.92 inches wide]
Height 61.00cm high [24.02 inches high]
Framed Width 96.00cm [37.80 inches wide]
Framed Height 81.00cm [31.89 inches high]


Private collection.

Description / Expertise

Julian Trevelyan was educated at Bedales School and Cambridge University before studying at the Atelier 17 in Paris. His early work was highly experimental with a strong interest in Surrealism. In 1936, together with other members British Surrealist, he helped in the organisation of the International Surrealist Exhibition in London. During World War II he worked as a camouflage officer in the Royal Engineers, here declaring his religion to be Surrealism. After the dissolving of his marriage to the potter Ursula Darwin he married the painter Mary Fedden and they settled to work together in his Thames side studio, Durham Wharf. He taught at Chelsea School of Art, 1950-60, and was engraving tutor at the Royal College of Art, 1955-60.

In 1963 Trevelyan was struck down by meningitis with stroke-like symptoms that initially effected his speech and movement and for a time he was unable to paint. Along with a group of therapists Mary worked with him and gradually he regained his abilities. She persuaded him to start drawing again and so began a new phase and style of his work. At first drawing in children’s coloured crayons he discovered a new interest in strong colours and his paintings became bolder and more direct with stronger and more simplified lines. He also threw new energies into etching, setting up the Durham Wharf studio with a printing press and related equipment. Travel played an important part in his recovery and they visited Crete with John Craxton in 1964. This was followed by their important 1965 trip to Florence that resulted in a flowering of work including the popular Florence Suite of etchings (1965-66), the large 1965 oil Florence at Night (collection of Durham University) and the current vista of the Duomo and towers of Florence seen across a landscape dotted with tall cypress trees. A study for the current painting is in the artist’s 1965 sketchbook, still in the collection of the Trevelyan family. (see Philip Trevelyan, Julian Trevelyan – Picture Language, Lund Humphries 2013, pp.200-209)

The Tate Gallery and many other public collections hold examples of his work.