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John Bratby became a leading figure in the school of uncompromising realist painting, known in the 1950's as Kitchen Sink. This painting shows the artist and his wife, together with several views of his hands and arms along the bottom of the canvas. Unsatisfied with the way the picture was progressing he decided to incorporate these multiple representations of himself painting it. He noted that the painting took on a new life 'I went ahead painting more and more hands, with their attendant shirt-covered chests, hairy forearms and rolled up shirt sleeves.' Working in the backyard under a temporary shelter, the artist painted himself without a mirror. He also altered the perspective to suit his composition.

August 2004