Sir Gerald Festus Kelly (1879-1972):
Palace Mandalay, 1909
Framed (ref: 4267)
Inscribed with title on reverse
Oil on panel
7 1/8 x 5 7/8 in. (18 x 15 cm.)
Provenance: Private Collection
Kelly first visited Mandalay, Burma, between 1908 and 1909, to recover from an unhappy love affair. This was at the suggestion of (and partly funded by) his friend Somerset Maugham. Of Mandalay, Kelly wrote: 'Try and imagine how beautiful it was. A square mile surrounded by high, rosy brick walls and sunrise and sunset all over it.' (Derek Hudson, For Love of Painting: The Life of Sir Gerald Kelly, 1975, p. 31). On arriving in Mandalay, Kelly set up his headquarters in the house of the District judge, and travelled up and down the Irrawaddy by steamer and rode inland by pony. Kelly made a good number of small plein air landscape sketches during his six month stay in Burma but larger landscapes on canvas (such as these) are rare. Their scale gives an added intensity to the shimmering colours. These two landscapes remained in Kelly's studio, the contents of which were left in Kelly's will to his assistant the painter John Napper. Of Kelly's working method Napper recalled: 'His slow painstaking methods made sure that there was always work in hand in the studio: portraits, landscapes, Burmese dancers, still-lives, started sometimes many years previously, would be got out, washed down, worked on, put away, and so on.' (Quoted Derek Hudson, p. 59).