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Many of the works owned by Wilkie held a particular, often personal, significance for him. He was interested in philosophy and he saw the art he admired as expressing certain philosophical or fundamental truths. This painting by Michael Andrews demonstrates this principle. It portrays a tramp whom the artist sometimes saw when he occupied a communal studio in Digswell, Hertfordshire, in the late 1950s. Wilkie's attitude to such social outcasts - outsiders looking in on society - was compassionate and respectful. He observed that characters like Digswell Man, as Andrews called him, 'possess a true knowledge of human life... through their fundamental life'.

September 2004