Sunday, December 26, 2010

Charles Spencelayh - 'Much noise, little music'

Price Realized £16,730

signed 'C.SPENCELAYH.' (lower right) signed again and inscribed '"MUCH NOISE LITTLE MUSIC"/COPYRIGHT RESERVED/C. SPENCELAYH.' (on the backboard)
pencil and watercolour heightened with touches of bodycolour
10½ x 14¾ in. (26.7 x 37.5 cm.)

Spencelayh's meticulously finished and wryly observed portrayals of individuals within their domestic or working environments have rightly attained great popularity. His subjects are often older men, surrounded by the paraphernalia of their past and present hobbies and interests. The present watercolour is a particularly good example of this type. The individual in question has dozed to sleep in his chair; sonorous snores have replaced a trumpeter's tunes. The neatness of this conceit is completed by the picture's status as a visual piece; we derive only pleasure from the detailed composition.

Detail is the hallmark of Spencelayh's work. Every object in this room is finely rendered; textures are equally well-evoked, from the thin geranium leaves to the cockerel's silky plume. The newspaper and wall calendar are also characteristic Spencelayh touches: fragments of daily life, rarely depicted in art, that enhance both the realism and gentle humour of his work.

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