1 of 2

Critics writing shortly after his death were in little doubt as to the significance of his work; ‘the most refined aspect of early twentieth century society will live on in his work, and that alone ensures his position in history’.

At the height of his career, Ambrose McEvoy was heralded as one of the most successful and fashionable English society portrait painters of his day and made a special line in his portraits of glamorous society women. One such was Lady Patricia Moore (1912-1947), the daughter of Henry Charles Ponsonby Moore, 10th Earl of Drogheda and Kathleen Pelham-Burn. Patricia’s mother, Kathleen, forged a remarkable reputation as a sportswoman, socialite, hostess and became one of the first women to fly as a passenger in a plane - she became known as 'the Flying Countess'. Patricia’s parents divorced in 1922 and her father was granted custody of her, although she seems to have taken after her mother in terms of her socialite status. For example, her marriage to Sir Paul Latham resulted in a stream of well-wishers flooding the street of the fashionable St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, so many in fact that the happy couple struggled to get through the doors of...

Read more

At the height of his career, Ambrose McEvoy was heralded as one of the most successful and fashionable English society portrait painters of his day and made a special line in his portraits of glamorous society women. One such was Lady Patricia Moore (1912-1947), the daughter of Henry Charles Ponsonby Moore, 10th Earl of Drogheda and Kathleen Pelham-Burn. Patricia’s mother, Kathleen, forged a remarkable reputation as a sportswoman, socialite, hostess and became one of the first women to fly as a passenger in a plane - she became known as "the Flying Countess". Patricia’s parents divorced in 1922 and her father was granted custody of her, although she seems to have taken after her mother in terms of her socialite status. For example, her marriage to Sir Paul Latham resulted in a stream of well-wishers flooding the street of the fashionable St. Margaret's Church, Westminster, so many in fact that the happy couple struggled to get through the doors of the church.[1] This portrait depicts Moore as a young girl and conveys McEvoy’s confidence with watercolour as a medium. Deft strokes of paint have been built up, and daringly bold, blue lines build the outline of his sitter. He painted Moore on another occasion a few years later in 1923, in watercolour and gouache.

Other portraits of Moore include an initial ad vivum study by Sir John Lavery, painted in preparation for his now lost work ‘Their Majesties’ Court, Buckingham Palace’, which was exhibited to great acclaim at the Royal Academy in 1931. The painting was signed, dated and inscribed ‘FROM J. Lavery/TO LADY PATRICIA MOORE/WITH GOOD WISHES/JUNE 1933’.

In the years following the First World War, McEvoy’s career and reputation grew from strength to strength and he was soon heralded as one of the most successful and fashionable English society portrait painters of his day. His innovative style and florid methods endeared an emerging generation of young, wealthy and liberal-minded patrons. His famed depictions of human character and beauty, particularly of women, became sought after and he maintained an illustrious list of clients spread between the United Kingdom and America, where he was represented for a period by the most celebrated international art dealer of the day, Lord Duveen.[3]

However, this youthful success was to take its toll on McEvoy and he died in 1927, aged forty-nine. Critics writing shortly after his death were in little doubt as to the significance of his work; ‘the most refined aspect of early twentieth century society will live on in his work, and that alone ensures his position in history’.[4]

To this day, he has become famed for his depiction of women. In his obituary in The Times he was praised for his ability to paint female subjects in a manner that was both visually appealing, but also bespoke the profundity of his ‘thoughts about human beauty, particularly feminine beauty’.[5]

[1] E. A. Akers-Douglas, (ed.) L. Hendra, Divine People: The Art & Life of Ambrose McEvoy, (London: Paul Holberton Publishing, 2019) p.28.

[2] Akers-Douglas, (ed.) Hendra, Divine People, p.24.

[3] Akers-Douglas, (ed.) Hendra, Divine People, p.176.

[4] “Ambrose McEvoy”, Country Life, vol. 13, issue 1619, 28th January 1928, p. 106.

[5] "Mr. Ambrose McEvoy." The Times (London), 5th January 1927, p. 12.

Receive information about exhibitions, news & events.

We will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.
Close

Basket

No items found
Close

Your saved list

This list allows you to enquire about a group of works.
No items found
Close
Mailing list signup

Get exclusive updates from Philip Mould Gallery

Close

Sign up for updates

Make an Enquiry

Receive newsletters

In order to respond to your enquiry, we will process the personal data you have supplied in accordance with our privacy policy. You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in any emails.

Close
Search
Close
Close
500 Years of British Art