Bohun Gallery’s superb collection of paintings, collage and etchings explores the diversity and development of this pioneering artist throughout the 20th century. One of the key works in this selling show is ‘Tisbury’, a collage dated 1937. The 1930s were fertile years for the young Trevelyan who had benefitted from three years spent at Stanley Hayter’s printing studio, Atelier 17, in Paris where he met Klee, Picasso and Miro. It was in this atmosphere that he turned to Surrealism and became a founding member of the British Surrealist Group whilst also becoming involved with the Mass Observation Group. Very few remain, but Trevelyan’s collages from his involvement with Mass Observation are regarded as a critical part of his development bringing together so many strands of his artistic development during the 1930s.
Bohun Gallery’s show includes a number of early oil paintings depicting the views from his home and studio at Durham Wharf on the banks of the London Thames, which became home to Trevelyan and his wife Mary Fedden in 1951. The Wharf became an important focus for London’s artistic circles of the time and provided continued artistic inspiration for Trevelyan until his death in 1988. A particularly charming painting dated 1967 depicts the gardens at Durham Wharf, with one of Julian’s beloved cats staring out at us and in the distant view a Tug boat on the Thames beyond.
Director of Bohun Gallery, Patricia Jordan-Evans first met Julian in 1982 at Durham Wharf and there began a long and happy working relationship. Her words, taken from the Catalogue Raisonne of Trevleyan’s etchings, best describe the enchanting and captivating qualities of this pioneering artist:
“I have always found that to be surrounded by Julian Trevelyan’s images was a magical experience which has not diminished with time. His work was unlike that of any other artist I knew. Full of ingenuity and insight, it had an unmistakable quirky humour. Julian’s images offered me a world of real originality, of spatial paradox and a delicious, intelligent simplicity devoid of cynicism. His profound vision has resulted in a series of unique achievements which include a wonderful body of paintings, collages and etchings. In the poet Kathleen Raine’s words, he was truly:
‘a Magician for his time and generation … he was our Enchanter ….’”