The Writer (1968)
RONALD OSSORY DUNLOP RA (1894 - 1973)
Oil on canvas laid on panel; signed bottom right
In period frame
The writer depicted in this portrait is unknown. But perhaps Dunlop meant her to be. It may indeed not be a likeness of anyone at all but rather a symbolic composite of all the figures in 1930s English bohemia that the artist met and worked alongside. And she cuts an immensely quintessential figure. Charleston personified. When the portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1968, it must have offered a unique blast of nostalgia.
Born in Dublin to a Scottish-Irish Quaker family, Dunlop was an Irish author and painter in oil of landscapes, seascapes, figure studies, portraits and still life. A conscientious objector during WW1, in 1923, Dunlop founded the Emotionist Group of writers and artists and his own work is characterised by a painterly exuberance. He was a member of the London Group from 1934, and the New English Art Club from 1935. Dunlop was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1939 and became a Royal Academician in 1950. He found considerable fame in his lifetime for his ‘alla prima’ approach to his work.
Ronald Ossory Dunlop’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price being 19,621 USD for Thames Backwatersold at Sotheby’s, London in 2005.