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Portrait of James Kirkup by Maurice De Sausmarez


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Portrait of James Kirkup
Portrait of the poet James Kirkup, who was Gregory Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds from 1950 to 1952.

Wearing a white shirt, dark waistcoat and loosened necktie, the poet sits in a Windsor chair, facing towards the viewer's left. His left elbow rests on a red pad on the arm of the chair, his left hand raised and clasping an ambiguous form, interpreted at different times as a shell, or screwed up paper. His right hand holds a pen, resting on sheets of paper on the table in front of him. A plaster cast of an large antique head faces him from the table, and his reflection appears in the mirror to the right of the table as we view it, giving the poet's profile and reinforces the sense of a shell in his hand, to which he listens. Painted in muted and painterly tones of blues, greys and browns.
Artist:Maurice De Sausmarez
Artwork type:painting
Style/Period:late 1940s / early 1950s
Material:Oil on canvas
Measurements:762 x 635 mm
Location:University of Leeds Art Collections
Rights owner:Jane Sausmarez
Rights status:UK HE use only
Institution:University of Leeds
Notes:Maurice de Sausmarez was the first Head of Fine Art at the University of Leeds, and this portrait of his contemporary, James Kirkup, first Gregory Fellow in Poetry (1950-1952) was painted during his tenure. It was purchased by the University from the artist. Exhibited at the Royal Academy Portraits exhibition in 1952.

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