Ruskin Spear

Professor Carel Weight

1961

Medium
Oil paint on board
Dimensions
Support: 1441 x 1162 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1962
Reference
T00527

Display caption

Carel Weight and Ruskin Spear both taught at the Royal College of Art, where this portrait was painted. A painting by David Hockney, who was then one of Weight’s pupils, rests on an easel in the background.

Spear rarely idealises the people in his portraits. Here he shows Weight with dropping shoulders, ruffled hair and a dream-like expression on his face. By painting in this objective style, Spear communicates his empathy and, in this case, his close friendship with the sitter. 

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

T00527 PROFESSOR CAREL WEIGHT, C.B.E., A.R.A. 1961

Not inscribed.
Oil on hardboard, 56 3/4×45 3/4 (144×116).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1962.
Exh: R.A., 1962 (126).
Repr: Royal Academy Illustrated, 1962, p.14.

Painted in the summer of 1961, this was not a commissioned portrait. The background is one of the painting studios at the Royal College of Art, where the sitter has been Professor of Painting since 1957. Also in the background is David Hockney, then in his last year at the college and on the easel is one of his paintings, probably ‘A Grand Procession of Dignitaries in the Semi-Egyptian Style’ (information from Mrs Ruskin Spear, 7 September 1962).

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