Rossetti’s Willow Wood (1944).
In one of those odd coincidences that occur from time to time, a picture by Robin Ironside is featured in a book I’ve been reading this week just as news arrives of a forthcoming talk about Ironside’s strange paintings. The book is Baroque Baroque by Stephen Calloway, while the talk is being given by the artist’s niece, Virginia Ironside, at the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History in London on April 21st. (Details here.)
Secret burial (1954).
I have to admit that I’d not encountered Ironside’s work until now despite a long-term fetish for unusual or unfashionable art. This isn’t too surprising since he and his fellow Neo-Romantics (a term he coined) had the misfortune to be working during a period that was deeply antagonistic towards this kind of painting. Rex Whistler is the most popular exponent of the style but Ironside’s art has the added attraction of a vaguely Surrealist flavour without any of the absurdities that usually ruin English attempts to follow Dalí and company. The Ironside website has further examples of his paintings plus designs for the theatre and some illustration work. For those who can’t attend The Last Tuesday Society there’s a lengthy reminiscence by Virginia Ironside about her fascinating uncle.