Catalogue entry

T02401 FATHER D'ARCY 1976

Not inscribed
Oil on canvas, 30 × 20 1/2 (76.2 × 51.2)
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1979
Prov: Purchased from the artist by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1976
Exh: RA, May–August 1976 (369); British Painting 1952–1977, RA, September–November 1977 (149, repr.)
Repr: RA Illustrated, 1976, p.3

Father Martin d'Arcy S.J. (1888–1976) writer, lecturer and broadcaster both on radio and television was Master of Campion Hall, Oxford from 1933 until 1945. He was painted and drawn by several artists including Augustus John and Wyndham Lewis; the portrait, in oils, by John belongs to Campion Hall.

This portrait by Peter Greenham was not a commission; Mrs Brinsley Ford, who knew the sitter well, suggested to the artist that he might paint a portrait of Father d'Arcy who was living in the Mount Street Jesuit Community adjoining the Farm Street Roman Catholic church, London W.1. The portrait was painted in 4 or 5 sittings, each of 1 1/2 to 2 hours from about 10.30 am to 12.30 pm in May and June 1975 in Father d'Arcy's small bed-sitter where, being rather frail, he spent most of his time. Greenham made a few drawings of the head and the hands, which at one time were clasped together, but as the sitter moved his hands they were omitted from the finished oil.

This catalogue entry is based largely on a discussion with the artist (November 1979) and is approved by him.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1978-80: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1981