Eliot Hodgkin
Purley-on-Thames 1905-1987 London
Still Life with Two Bottles with Coins and a Sphere

Pencil, stamped with the artists signature lower right, on wove paper, light sketch on the verso

202 x 253 mm


Condition: The pencil and paper are in an excellent condition, the lower margin has a frayed edge, probably from a sketch book. The drawing is not laid down, it is hinged in the upper margin on the verso, onto a conservation mount, with a bespoke blue cover mount.

British painter and author, Eliot Hodgkin, attended Harrow School where his talents as a draughtsman were immediately recognised.[1] Encouraged by his teachers, he pursued his artistic education in London at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools, where he studied under the painter and poster designer, Francis Ernest Jackson (1872-1945). An interest in design initially led him into the field of fashion drawing, on which he published his first book in 1932, and into mural decoration of houses and restaurants. By the mid-1930s, however, Hodgkin had established his reputation as painter of still lives and landscapes and was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy of Art. His first solo exhibition was in London at Picture Hire Ltd. in 1936 and several others were to follow, notably in New York at Durlacher Bros., and in London at Wildenstein, Leicester Galleries, the Arthur Jeffress Gallery and Agnews. In more recent years, his work was the subject of four monographic exhibitions at Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox. His paintings feature prominently in both private and public collections including the Tate Britain.

Hodgkin is especially admired today for his meticulous still lives comprised of fruits, vegetables, feathers, eggs, leaves and various other objects from the natural world. Executed in oil or tempera on board, he typically arranged the object of his gaze simply and elegantly against a neutral background. In doing so, he encourages us to focus, pause and reflect on objects – often part of everyday life – that would otherwise escape our notice.

In an article published in Tempera: Yearbook of the Society of Painters in Tempera in 1967, Hodgkin described his working method. Although his compositions appear to be deceptively casual, he would spend a great deal of time over the choice and arrangement of his subject which he would then make a detailed drawing of. When he was happy with the composition, he would carefully trace the drawing onto primed hardboard before starting to paint.

[1] He is cousin of the abstract painter, Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932).