Tuesday, June 29, 2010
George Owen Wynne Apperley - self portrait
Signed and inscribed ‘Painted by himself at Bushey in the year AD 1915. His age 31’;
watercolour and bodycolour; 20 × 16 ins
Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1916, no. 1000.
George Owen Wynne Apperley is a forgotten English watercolourist of some
considerable talent, as shown here in this extraordinary self-portrait painted in 1915.
Apperley was a descendant of ‘Nimrod’, the sporting journalist. He attended Hubert
von Herkomer’s art school in Bushey, Hertforshire. Indeed it was at Bushey where
Apperley painted this self-portrait at the age of 31, when he returned to live there in 1913, following the death of a daughter, the illness of a son and his own poor
health. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1905, and his first one-man show
was in the following year. In 1907 he married and lived in Hampstead, travelling
twice yearly to paint on the Continent.
In addition to painting, Apperley also composed a musical, The Flying Man, based on
the exploits of Blériot, and he appeared on the music hall stage.
In 1916, the year after he painted this extraordinary self-portrait, he was advised to go to Spain for his health – and he never returned. He first lived in Granada, and
then at the Villa Apperley, Tangier, with a Spanish gypsy. He had numerous
exhibitions in Spain and was awarded the order of Alfonso X el Sabio in 1945. He
painted figures, mythological subjects, landscapes and town views. He was a fine
draughtsman, as shown here in this watercolour with its highly detailed interior.