Claude Rogers

Mrs Richard Chilver

1937–8

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 908 x 603 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1940
Reference
N05345

Display caption

This portrait of the journalist, Elizabeth Chilver, was produced in the year of her marriage to a senior civil servant named Richard Chilver. It is painted in the realist tradition of the Euston Road School which Claude Rogers founded with Coldstream and Pasmore in 1937. Rogers wrote that it was ‘a commission which… did not come off at the time’. His concern for accuracy is balanced by his delight in the sensuous qualities of paint.

Elizabeth Chilver later became Principal of Bedford College in London and, from 1971, of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N05345 MRS RICHARD CHILVER 1937–8

Inscr. ‘Claude Rogers 39’ t.r. in red and ‘Rogers 39’ in black.
Canvas, 35 3/4×23 3/4 (91×60·5).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1940.
Coll: Purchased at the Leicester Galleries by Edward Le Bas, but relinquished in exchange for another picture.
Exh: Contemporary English Painting, Wildenstein, March–April 1939 (26); Leicester Galleries, April 1940 (10); R.A., 1941 (99).

The artist wrote (n.d. October 1961) that the portrait was painted at Constable's House, 76 Charlotte Street, W.1, and was a ‘semi-demi commission which ... did not come off at the time. Many sittings during which Sally (Mrs Chilver) made much intellectual conversation and I... tried to get her eyes in the right place among other things I remember.’

Elizabeth (Sally) Graves, a niece of Robert Graves, married Richard Chilver in 1937. She was Director of the Oxford University Institute of Commonwealth Studies 1957–62.

Painted in 1937–8 and dated later for exhibition.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II