Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Cecile Walton

Cecile Walton (1891-1956) - "Romance" Oil on canvas, 1920. National Galleries of Scotland

"From an artistic family, Cecile Walton was the daughter of Glasgow Boys artist Edward Arthur Walton. She studied in London, Edinburgh, Paris and Florence and became a member of the Edinburgh Group, practising in the capital as a painter, sculptor and illustrator. Influenced by the Symbolist style, her book illustrations for the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen perfectly capture the fanciful characters and stories of the Danish author."

This slightly unsettling painting is actually a self portrait. It depicts Walton holding up and coldly inspecting her new born son Edward while her other son, 5 year old Gavril, watches nervously from the end of the bed. The work - reminiscent of Manet's searingly controversial portrait of the prostitute Olympia - paints an uneasy picture of motherhood, the title "Romance," being wholly ironic.

Cecile Walton is today best remembered as a book illustrator.

Walton's 1911 illustrations for Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tails
A profile of Cecile Walton by Rosemary Addison
Edward Arthur Walton, Cecile's father, was a member of the "Glasgow Boys"

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