The McEvoy Archive 'To Darling' 'From Husband' (By Ellie Smith)

December 20, 2019

The process of engaging with Ambrose McEvoy’s short yet expansive career has been an utter privilege, made possible through granted access to an extensive archive of material. Comprised of a multitude of artefacts from sketchbooks and watercolour studies to invoices and personal letters, this archive pulls together a running narrative of McEvoy’s professional and personal achievements.

Perhaps the most heart-warming of these artefacts are the numerous letters sent back-and-forth between McEvoy and his wife, Mary Spencer Edwards. Each charmingly addressed to ‘Darling’ and signed ‘Husband’, these letters enrich our understanding of the artist’s caring nature, which was continuously attested to throughout his lifetime.

Whilst many of us are beginning to ensconce ourselves away in the company of our closest friends and family during this cold 2019 Christmas period, nearly 100 years ago, separated from his wife, McEvoy was furiously working through the bitter New York winter.

As evidenced in this intimate letter, stamped and dated Dec. 24, 1920, this personal material compliments what we have already discovered about McEvoy’s professional career; his diligent and determined nature governed his professional conduct and imbued into his personal lifestyle.

‘I have never worked so hard as I am now. Tell me if you think there would be much work in England for me or if you think it is right to stay here for the moment where there seems to be plenty to do.’

‘I wish I had some of you darling. I love you so and I miss you so much your letters are lovely and I envy you seeing Michael and Anna I am so glad you are happy darling. Really there doesn’t seem much to say today for instance I got up at 7 and dashed off to leave the Mills house to paint … then I dashed to Washington Square in his car to paint Mrs Harriman, lunched then back here to paint … Duveen came in and … now Johnson coming. Every day I work like that … The world seems in a strange state so that I am glad I am here to make some money.

All my love always angel

Husband’

To all those working throughout this festive season and to those who may find themselves far from home, as McEvoy himself did, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and joyful New Year...

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