John Aldridge – Stubble Field, Thaxted, 1968
Unlike the artists of St Ives, the Bardfield Group didn’t really end up copying each other’s works and styles. Each of them all having a different artistic technique already before moving to the village.
John Aldridge painted realistic landscapes, no surrealism and little abstraction, his masterfulness coming in the detail of light sources and a limited palette of colour. Despite the landscapes and garden paintings here are a collection of his portrait paintings. What is more interesting about them is how the people are woven together in their history with each other.
As an artist, he was self-taught and his paintings have a freshness that some of his contemporaries had to work hard to regain after. †
John Aldridge – Portrait of Cedric Morris c1928
John Aldridge – Portrait of Lucy Brown, 1930
John Aldridge – Portrait of Laura Riding, 1933
John Aldridge – Portrait of Lucy Aldridge c1950
John Aldridge – Portrait of Robert Graves, 1968
In 1968 when Robert Graves asked Aldridge to paint him.
Robert Graves wanted a portrait of himself, he declared that as a landscape painter Aldridge was the right person to interpret his craggy features †
Graves wrote to Karl Gay at the time, ‘he found my face an interesting landscape’. ‡
John Aldridge – Self Portrait, 1946
† Country Life – Volume 193 – p55, 1999
‡ Robert Graves and Paul O’Prey – Between Moon and Moon: Selected Correspondence – p300, 1990