T00349 GIANT SNAIL 1951–9
Inscr. on back of canvas, ‘John Dodgson’ and the artist's address (almost illegible) ‘12 Ed[ith G]rove.’
Canvas, 25×30 (64×76), including brown painted border all round, 1/2 (1·5).
Purchased from the artist through the Beaux Arts Gallery (Grant-in-Aid) 1960.
Exh: London Group, 1953 (208), as ‘Italian Composition’; Beaux Arts Gallery, May–June 1959 (8, repr.).
The artist wrote (28 April 1960): ‘This originated with a factual drawing of the old Porta San Donato at Lucca, 1951, which thereafter underwent a series of metamorphoses until the present design emerged, and I think I exhibited it at the London Group ..., but I have since then repainted it extensively over the intervening years. You are quite right in seeing an echo of Verona in the background.... The picture has really become a fantasy depicting a mediaeval Italian fortress on the ramparts of which the stone lions have now come to life and stand guard in lieu of the one time human sentries. The foreground is a mass of debris across which the Giant Snail is trailing, and a couple of girls on the left approach a shrine and a crowd of boys rush down the hill side on the right.’
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I