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In this self-portrait Hurry presents himself as a romantic Hamlet-like figure in a fictitious world. The two entwined naked figures behind him contrast with the more mundane objects in the foreground, including a book and bowl of fruit.

In 1942 Hurry had received great critical acclaim for his designs for the sets and costumes for Robert Helpmann’s ballet Hamlet, performed at Sadler’s Wells. This was the start of a distinguished association with the theatre, clearly reflected in this painting.

September 2004