Augustus John Draws Wonderful People
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
It was T E Lawrence who turned me into an Augustus John fan. I was in London’s National Portrait Gallery when I saw John’s drawing of the archaeologist and writer. Just a handful of pencil lines across one half of the page, the striking portrait is intimate and personal.
John captured many other famous people with his pencil, including James Joyce and Wyndham Lewis. However, the drawings of his children are amongst my favourite. Some look intently at the viewer, others are busy or are looking away. All are tender and exquisite.
I used these drawings as the model for Vivien Taylor’s prized artwork in ‘Paint a Murder’. Vivien is an art collector and the John drawing that she acquires is her favourite piece.
As well as being a gifted draughtsman, John was a skilled painter. He painted landscapes of Dorset and his beloved Wales. Also, a series from a visit to Provence in the late nineteen twenties. These are compelling works. However, his portraits are exceptional. As fresh and accessible today nearly a century after they were produced.