Enthralled by artist King’s vivid scenes

A copy of Edward Kings painting of Portsmouth Cathedral and Old Portsmouth during the blitz Picture: Sarah Standing (123888-4978)
A copy of Edward Kings painting of Portsmouth Cathedral and Old Portsmouth during the blitz Picture: Sarah Standing (123888-4978)

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I mentioned in last month’s article on Portsea Island Decorative and Fine Arts society that we were looking forward to our privileged preview on March 23 of Portsmouth Museum’s exhibition of paintings of local artist Edward King.

He suffered from depression and was a patient at St James Hospital for much of his life and had to be accompanied by a nurse whenever he went out to paint local scenes.

And what paintings! Antiques Roadshow expert Dendy Easton introduced the preview by stressing how impressed he was by the quality of King’s works.

Like us, he had never encountered them before.

We were enthralled by vivid scenes of the devastation caused by the World War II bombardment of Portsmouth.

Several contemporary photographs alongside the sad remnants of well known places pointed up how an artist’s impression can be so much more emotive than that of a photo.

His palette tended towards red and ochre yet conveyed sadness better than any more dingy hues.

These colours soaked even his marine paintings of Eastney and the hospital.

This splendidly curated exhibition is on for some time. I do urge you to go and see it.

Our April 12 lecture was by Bernard Allan on women artists, and stressed that truly great women painters have been sidelined because of their sex.

He illustrated his lecture with stunning pictures, ranging from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, including those of Artemesia Gentilleschi, subject of Michael Palin’s recent documentary on BBC Four.

As I am a retired classical musician, I am introducing and playing pieces by such well-loved composers as Schubert, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Debussy in a piano recital from 1pm-2pm at St Thomas’ Cathedral on May 3.

You are invited to bring your own lunch, but a cold drink is provided. Feel free to slip out early if you have to get back to work.

Get there by 12.45pm for a prompt start. Admission is £5 with all the proceeds to PIDFAS.

Do come and join us for something a little different.

Meanwhile a reminder that our next lecture, at the Eldon Building Middle Street on May 10, is by Tony Faber, grandson of the founder of the famous publishing firm.

Doors open at 6pm for socialising and coffee and the lecture is from 7pm-8pm.

Ring me, Diana Swann, on (023) 9282 0317 for more information.