B.A.R. Carter

Nude Model


Not on display

B.A.R. Carter 1909–2006
Oil paint on board
Support: 641 × 559 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1961

Display caption

B.A.R. 'Sam' Carter was for many years associated with the group of artists, led by William Coldstream, which emerged from the Euston Road School in the 1930s. Later, he taught at Camberwell and the Slade Schools of Art. He is especially known for his teaching of perspective, and in 1975 he was appointed Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. Like other Euston Road artists, he has painted still life and landscape, but the studio nude has been a particularly consistent theme. Carter worked slowly and, after eight four-hour sessions, this work remained unfinished. He was nonetheless persuaded to send it to the Royal Academy and was surprised when it was purchased and given to the Tate Gallery.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

B.A.R. Carter born 1909

T00443 Nude Model 1960

Oil on hardboard
639 x 560 mm (25 1/8 x 22")

Inscribed on back in white chalk, 'D' and in red chalk, 'D', top centre; inscribed on back of frame in ink, 'B.A.R. CARTER | "NUDE MODEL" 18 FROGNAL WAY'

Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1961

Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1961

Royal Academy, London 1961 (291)
The Hard-Won Image: Traditional Method and Subject in Recent British Art, Tate Gallery, London, July-Sept. 1984 (31, repr. p.57)
The Painted Nude: From Etty to Auerbach, Tate Gallery, London Aug.-Dec. 1992, Norwich Castle Museum, May-Sept. 1993 (17)

Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, Tate Gallery: The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, I, London 1964, p.93

Also reproduced:
Royal Academy Illustrated, London 1961, p.68

In a letter to the Tate Gallery dated 3 December 1961 the artist wrote that Nude Model was painted in his studio at 18 Frognal Way, Hampstead between 16 and 25 July 1960.1 The sitter was Adriana Huggard, a regular model at the Slade School. Carter booked Miss Huggard at the end of the summer term, sharing the sittings and her fee with his friend the painter Adrian Stokes. She sat for eight three hour sessions but suddenly stopped coming before the painting was finished. The artist stated in retrospect that he would have liked another four sessions with the model in order to complete the painting.2 Miss Huggard was chosen, he said, for no other reason than the fact that she was 'the next one on the list' at the Slade. In his 1996 letter Carter recalled that the precise pose of the model was not of particular concern to him, and was probably one she took up herself in order to be comfortable. Carter and Stokes shared a model at the beginning of every summer vacation from the time Carter moved to Frognal Way, which was close to Stokes's home, in 1959 until Stokes's death in 1972. In 1995 Adrian Stokes's widow was unable to trace the whereabouts of the painting he executed while Carter painted Nude Model. However, another work of the same year, Nude, appears to be of the same model in a slightly different pose.3

Nude Model is painted in medium-rich oil paint on the smooth face of the hardboard which was prepared with an evenly applied white ground. On viewing the painting once again, the artist wrote to the director of the Tate Gallery on 20 October 1994, 'I had forgotten how unfinished it is in parts; notably the hands'.4 Though the paint is generally thin there are areas of isolated impasto at the edges of the main forms and, most especially, around the ill-defined hands. The artist believed that he might have made a quick preliminary sketch,5 but the composition was roughly laid out on the board in oil. A lot of drawing in red oil paint is visible, particularly around the hands; similarly, strong dark lines delineating the forms can be seen around the figure's thighs. Though the figure is more heavily worked, the chair and background are thinly painted with regular brushstrokes of about 1 1/2 inches. This handling, the cursory underdrawing and the use of subtle tones of green and blue throughout the composition show the admiration for Cézanne which Carter shared with his colleagues from the Euston Road and Slade schools. In 1947, during a holiday in Provence with William Coldstream, Carter had made what he called a 'pilgrimage' to Cézanne's home at Aix where he painted three views of the Mont Sainte-Victoire (artist's collection).

Carter often used the Golden Section to compose his paintings. However, it is not possible to say whether this was the case with Nude Model as the picture was cut down after completion. The top edge has been cut with a blade but it is not certain whether the sides were similarly reduced. The artist said in 1996 that his framer, Robert Sielle, had pursuaded him to crop a couple of inches from the top of the board prior to its submission to the Royal Academy.6 Carter sent the work to the Royal Academy in 1960 on the suggestion of the painter John Aldridge who was on the Selection Committee that year. The artist had not submitted work to the Academy before and, as he considered the painting unfinished, was surprised at its purchase by the Chantrey Bequest.

During an inspection by Tate Gallery conservators it was noted that red crayon marks, in the form of spirals, had been added to the figure's nipples. After close examination of the painting on 21 March 1996, the artist confirmed that he had not made the marks which must, therefore, have been added by another hand whilst the work was on unglazed display at the RA in 1961. The marks were removed, with the artist's approval, on 25 March 1996.

Chris Stephens
November 1997

1 B.A.R. Carter, letter to Tate Gallery, 3 Dec. 1961, Tate Gallery catalogue file
2 Interview with the author, 9 February 1996
3 Adrian Stokes, Nude, Oliver Soskice, repr. Adrian Stokes, exh. cat. Serpentine Gallery, London 1982, no.59
4 B.A.R. Carter, letter to Nicholas Serota, 20 Oct. 1994, Tate Gallery catalogue file
5 Interview with the author, 9 February 1996
6 Ibid.


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