An Art Accustomed Eye

The following has been announced by the auctioneers Rogers Jones Co


Viewing Friday 20th February 10-8pm and on the morning of sale 9-10.30am

300 + works of art from Wales’ foremost artists

Lot 233

CLIVE HICKS-JENKINS acrylic on panel – still life with toy theatre entitled `Painting for a Child`s Bedroom`, attic gallery label verso, dated 2005, 13.5 x 27.5 ins (34.5 x 70 cms)

The painting was made in 2005 and offered at The Attic Gallery in Swansea, where for many years I showed before the arrangement was in place for my sole representation at the Martin Tinney Gallery. I know that it was purchased as a gift for a child. Twice in the past ten years the owners have loaned it for public exhibition: to MoMA Wales in 2010 for an exhibition titled Art for Children curated by my partner Peter Wakelin, and the year after to the National Library of Wales for my sixtieth birthday retrospective.

The origins of painting lie in the private collections of the Gibbs family, who have customarily purchased artworks for various generations of Gibbs children in the belief that you cannot too early begin the process of educating the eye and the heart in matters of art. Peter and I came to know members of the Gibbs family in 2001, when William Gibbs purchased a painting from my first public gallery exhibition, The Mare’s Tale at Newport Museum and Art Gallery. William invited me to visit his home to see his art collection and meet his mother, his brothers and their families, and over the succeeding years Peter and I grew to know the family and they us. We became friends. In 2004 the Gibbs family collection of art was exhibited in An Art Accustomed Eye at the National Museum of Wales, for which Peter wrote the book/catalogue of the same title.

Within the Gibbs collection, is a small painting by Richard Eurich of a train speeding along a track, and it was this, together with the lovely notion of acquiring art for children so early in their lives, that led me to make Painting for a Child’s Bedroom.  I included in it some of the things I remember loving as a child: a distant horizon, a panoramic view and the sense of a journey, a toy theatre, a glass full of water, a castle and a boat. The plants are two I loved as a child and love now: bronze fennel in the glass and Jerusalem sage in front of Oxwich Castle.

I’m saddened that the painting is coming up for auction a mere ten years after it was purchased with the intention of being the companion of a child through to adulthood. I’m saddened to think that the child did not love it enough, or that circumstances changed in the lives of its owners to a point where they chose to let the painting go. I don’t know the story, and so I can only speculate. But here it is, Lot 233 in the forthcoming auction, and I hope that wherever it goes, it may be loved and enjoyed.

Peter’s book about the Gibbs Collection is still available:

Author: Wakelin, Peter
Published: 2004
ISBN: 0 7200 0555 8
Binding: Paperback
No. pages: 99

‘Collecting and promoting art was at the heart of John Gibbs’ life although his friends and colleagues knew little of the extent of his activities, and the wider art world knew even less. He and his wife Sheila challenged our concept of collecting, acquiring works for public and educational institutions as well as for their own family, including the youngest children. This book reveals for the first time how they created one of the first confident collections of contemporary Welsh art, and demonstrated the value of modern art in Christian faith. The collections they created include works by Ceri Richards, Lucian Freud and Paul Nash, all acquired to help us appreciate the power of art.’