Roland Vivian Pitchforth

Seated Model


Not on display

Roland Vivian Pitchforth 1895–1982
Ink and pastel on paper
Support: 325 × 254 mm
Bequeathed by the artist 1983

Catalogue entry

T03661 Seated Model c. 1950–60

Brown ink and brown pastel on cream wove paper 12 3/4 × 10 (325 × 254)
Not inscribed
Bequeathed by the artist 1983
Lit: Mervyn Levy, ‘Draughtsman without portfolio’, Studio, CLXIII, January 1962, pp.11–18; Lord Thorneycroft, The Amateur, A Companion to Watercolour, 1985, pp.33, 35,

Vivian Pitchforth taught life drawing at London art schools throughout his career: Camberwell 1926–65, Clapham 1926–39, St Martin's 1930–65, RCA 1937–9, Chelsea 1948–65 and John Cass 1965–73/4. These two drawings in pastel and brown ink applied with pen and brush were made as practical demonstrations for his students. Peter Coker, RA, has described Vivian Pitchforth's classes at St Martin's School of Art:

The strength in his teaching was due in large measure to the clarity of his illustration. In spite of his deafness or perhaps because of it, his life classes became more concentrated and animated. One could also hear much of what was being said to the other students with the word ‘form’ echoing round the room ... At the end of the day he would produce his book and draw for himself which was particularly stimulating and many of his demonstration drawings were kept by the students (Times Obituary, 8 September 1982).

‘Seated Model’ has been identified by Walter Woodington, curator of the Royal Academy Schools (retired) as Pat Horne, who sat for all the major London art schools in the late forties, fifties and sixties.

Pitchforth's emphasis on volume and form in these drawings was probably the result of his early admiration for Cézanne and also due to the teaching of Leon Underwood at the Royal College of Art and later at Girdlers Road. To explain the importance of form, Pitchforth sliced sections through the figure and marked out the bulk and weight of the body with dotted lines. The artist told Mervyn Levy:

One begins by thinking the three masses of the skeleton, the head, the thorax, the pelvis... I must observe the alignment of the three masses and in relation to these the rhythm that runs through the figure, and the angles of the limbs. These are the basic anchors that will hold my drawing securely in place... Feel the sections of the limbs, the sections through them... I am drawing with a lump of brown chalk; later I'll work into this with pen and ink... I begin to draw over and into the broad masses and shapes of my preliminary drawing. Cutting and refining, polishing, shaping, describing with the incisive descriptive point of the pen (or pencil).

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986


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