The Portrait Painter

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 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. †

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 John Aldridge – Portrait of Cedric Morris c1928

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 John Aldridge – Portrait of Lucy Brown, 1930

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 John Aldridge – Portrait of Laura Riding, 1933

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 John Aldridge – Portrait of Lucy Aldridge c1950

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 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’.

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 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