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Portrait of W.H Auden by his friend Maurice Field.

Maurice Feild

(1905-1988)
Maurice Feild became good friends with W.H Auden whilst teaching in Worcester, before beginning his career.

Biography

Maurice Feild studied at the Slade School of Art during the 1920s before beginning his career teaching at The Downs, a Quaker preparatory school in Colwall, Worcester, where he remained until after World War II. During this time, he became good friends with Auden, his contemporary colleague.

As part of the Euston Road School – which was also formed during the same year as this painting - Feild leaned towards representational painting based on observation in an attempt to make art more relatable and relevant for non-specialist audiences. Whilst the likeness in the present work is laudable, the simplicity of design, restricted pallet and the expressive strokes towards the lower half of the canvas accost European modernist tendencies.

Read full biography

Maurice Feild studied at the Slade School of Art during the 1920s before beginning his career teaching at The Downs, a Quaker preparatory school in Colwall, Worcester, where he remained until after World War II. During this time, he became good friends with Auden, his contemporary colleague.

As part of the Euston Road School – which was also formed during the same year as this painting - Feild leaned towards representational painting based on observation in an attempt to make art more relatable and relevant for non-specialist audiences. Whilst the likeness in the present work is laudable, the simplicity of design, restricted pallet and the expressive strokes towards the lower half of the canvas accost European modernist tendencies.

Feild’s artistic flair made quite the impression on fellow Euston Road associate, William Coldstream, who offered him a place to teach at the Slade in 1954. Another member of the school who lauded Feild’s work was Sir Lawrence Gowing - protege of Bloomsbury art critic Clive Bell, later trustee of the Tate Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, and the British Museum, member of the Arts Council of Great Britain and later associate of the Royal Academy of Arts – and once applauded Feild as ‘among the unsung influences on British painting’.[2]

Feild’s work is now held in public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Government Art Collection.

 

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500 Years of British Art