Anthony Eyton R.A. -‘Three Generations’- A Family Exhibition

Open Window, Spitalfields 1976-81 by Anthony Eyton born 1923
Open Window, Spitalfields 1976-81 Anthony Eyton

Private View: Tuesday 5th April 6pm-8pm. All welcome.

at The Heatherley School of Fine Art, 75 Lots Road, Chelsea SW10 0RN

One of the country’s most distinguished figurative painters, Anthony Eyton RA was elected a Royal Academician in 1976. At 92 years of age he is still painting every day, as he always has. Eyton’s work is represented by Browse and Darby in Cork Street, London, and can be seen annually in the RA Summer Exhibition.
‘Anthony Eyton’s paintings shimmer and effervesce in bursts of brilliant light. Broad gestural marks, apparently laid on at speed, seek out and define each subject. Whether he is painting direct from nature or from drawings supported by photographs, the same sense of immediacy can be felt. His marks accumulate and jostle for position while everything is considered and reconsidered – the space the structure, the fall of the light, the placing of detail, the orchestration of colour and the rhythm of the whole – yet the surface of the painting remains fresh, fluid as if still on the move’ Jenny Pery, author of Eyton’s Eye: A life in Painting.

“Phyllis Eyton, my mother, was born in 1900. She studied painting at Heatherley’s art school from 1919 to 1920 and is the catalyst for this exhibition of three generations. There is a distinct link of creativity from her as an artist which has been passed onto us and it seems fitting to celebrate her work, with examples of mine and my three daughters.

My mother died in 1929, so her working life barely spanned 10 years. Upon hearing of her death, Henri Voisin (Revue du Vrai et du Beau, April 1930) declared: ‘Le belle et grande artiste que fut Phyllis Eyton est morte. Son oeuvre lumineuse demeure’ (‘The beautiful and great artist Phyllis Eyton has died. Her bright work remains’).

I was 15 when my father gave me her paint box, which was a revelation: the paint box itself seemed a touch of magic, a connection with her.

As writer and historian Doctor Wendy Baron wrote: ‘Phyllis Eyton’s paintings sprang from a deep urge to record the beauty of nature. She was wonderfully responsive to colour, form and light, she belonged to no school of painting, was motivated by no aesthetic other than the primitive need to sing a hymn to nature.’ The painters Augustus John and William Orpen admired her work very much and in the year of her death she had a painting accepted into the Royal Academy summer exhibition. The paintings that she left behind are an endless source of inspiration to me.

It would seem no wonder that my three daughters have also had the calling to follow an artistic way of life.

My eldest daughter Jane is a practising sculptor and is also a teacher of sculpture. Her pieces use a variety of media and are often site-specific installations. They are inspired by nature and try to capture a moment in time and the anticipated motion of an object. The work portrays a physicality that is both spontaneous and vivid whilst having a deeper aesthetic resonance.

Clare is a ceramicist. Her pots are coiled and built with extreme patience, producing simple, pleasing vessels. Once the shape is complete, she then applies a painted surface glaze. The colours and patterns have a light and joyous touch which complete and unify the forms. Clare sells her work privately where she lives and works in Mallorca.

Sarah is a designer of fashion accessories. Her work has been acclaimed both in the UK and the international press (English, Italian & Japanese Vogue, Elle UK, Grazia, Italian & American Marie Claire etc.) and is sold in high-end boutiques and the Tate Gallery. She also paints. In contrast to the delicate control and minimalism of her jewellery designs, her ink paintings allow her more emotional expression and possess an atmospheric, brooding sense of drama.” Anthony Eyton 2016

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Heatherley's blog on art, artists and life in an art school
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