Rex Whistler (British, 1905-1944) Longcross House 71.2 x 137.2 cm. (28 x 54 in.)

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Lot 6
Rex Whistler
(British, 1905-1944)
Longcross House 71.2 x 137.2 cm. (28 x 54 in.)

Sold for £ 47,750 (US$ 67,028) inc. premium
Rex Whistler (British, 1905-1944)
Longcross House
signed and dated 'Rex Whistler 1934' (lower right)
oil on canvas
71.2 x 137.2 cm. (28 x 54 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Major Charles Micklem, thence by family descent
    Private Collection, U.K.

    One of the 1920s so called 'Bright Young Things', Rex Whistler's prodigious talent and renowned charm positioned him as a favourite artist amongst well-heeled and bohemian circles of the inter-war period.

    Born in 1905 in Kent, the son of an architect, at the age of just seven Whistler entered a work to the Royal Drawing Society, winning an award. An achievement he would repeat for the following twelve years. He enrolled at the Slade in 1922, securing his first portrait commission the same year. He was awarded scholarships for his second and third years, and later an honorary bursary to the British School in Rome. Whilst still in his final year of the Slade, aged twenty one, Whistler secured a commission to paint a mural for the Tate Gallery, to this day one of his best known works and now the site of the Tate's Rex Whistler Restaurant.

    A society darling, Whistler painted portraits of many of his circle including Edith Sitwell and Cecil Beaton. He took commissions for stage design, including several Oscar Wilde plays, and illustrations for publishers, such as those to accompany Gulliver's Travels.

    Following the success of Whistler's Tate mural, a bounty of commissions came his way. These included esteemed patrons such as Lord and Lady Louis Mountbatten, Sir Duff and Lady Diana Cooper, Sir Philip Sasson, Sir Henry Channon and the Marquess of Anglesey, for whom he painted the highly celebrated mural at Plas Newydd.

    The present work was commissioned in 1934 by Major Charles Micklem (1882-1955). Micklem, a former stockbroker and senior partner for Cazenove & Co, had Longcross House near Chertsey in Surrey built as a home for his wife and six children. Whistler depicts the Major and his wife upon their new lawn which leads towards views of Cobham Common, whilst each of the children are engaged in various activities.

    Whistler was tragically killed in action in Normandy on the 18th July 1944, he was 39 years of age.
Contacts
Rex Whistler (British, 1905-1944) Longcross House 71.2 x 137.2 cm. (28 x 54 in.)
Rex Whistler (British, 1905-1944) Longcross House 71.2 x 137.2 cm. (28 x 54 in.)
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