Lady Lever Artwork of the Month – August 2007

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Lady Lever artwork of the month for August 2007. ‘La Lotería Nacional’ – ‘Buying the Tickets’, by John Phillip

Ah, that reminds me, its a rollover jackpot tomorrow isnt it?

About the artwork
Early in his career the Aberdeen-born artist John Phillip gained a reputation for his Scottish genre scenes in the manner of Wilkie (1785-1841). However, it was his depictions of Spanish subjects made during the final 15 years of his life that earned him widespread popularity and the esteem of fellow painters and patrons, as well as a healthy income.

These luminous, richly coloured paintings inspired by his contact with Spanish culture and art during extended visits, captured the warm sunny climate, and the gaiety and passion of the Spanish people, and earned him the title ‘Phillip of Spain’.

Phillip was very much a British artist and a child of his time, delighting in the Victorian love of narrative. His pictures of Spain are filled with human incident, illustrating the lifestyle of the people he encountered – the charms of beautiful young señoritas and flamboyant contrabandistas. Like the romanticised account of life in Spain given by the American writer Washington Irving in The Alhambra (1832),

Phillip’s paintings evoke a sense of mystery and vibrancy. His pictures of gypsy musicians, monks and priests, and street scenes of groups clad in bright, decorative shawls and robes, created the vision of an exotic southern landscape that contrasted with the bleak Victorian cities at home. Due to their popularity, Phillip’s representations helped form romantic notions of Spain in the British imagination at that time.

Gallery Talk
Free gallery talks by Leonie O’Dwyer Tuesday 21 August, 13.00

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