Portrait of Julian Trevelyan, 1939
Clement Davenport (c. 1913 - before 1957)
RA Collection: Art
A head and shoulders portrait in pencil of the artist Julian Trevelyan. It was drawn by his friend Clement Davenport. The two had known each other since childhood as pupils at Bedales School.
In his autobiography, Trevelyan recalled that in the years just before the Second World War, when this portrait was produced, he and his first wife Ursula Darwin spent much of their time with the Davenports. He wrote:
'pictures, music, books, good talk were all woven harmoniously into our time with the Davenports...who...lived in a stone house in the Cotswolds on the way to Bristol. These were some of the happiest and most productive times that I can remember, and I felt entirely in harmony with everyone in that house. In Clement Davenport's studio we all painted in a sort of frenzy. Clement was a beautiful tall girl of boyish stature but with the freshness of a magnolia; I had known her since I had been at school with her, and I loved her forthright and provocative manner. Later, and until she recently died, she was the scene-painter at Covent Garden, who interpreted the designs of such artists as Clavé, Berard and Leslie Hurry'.
This portrait, finely drawn but with a slight elongation and exaggeration of the sitter's distinctive features, clearly demonstrates Davenport's style of draughtsmanship as described by Trevelyan. He wrote: 'she was primarily a superb draughtsman...she had the precision of a Dürer and the grotesque imagination of a Hieronymous Bosch'.
Clement Davenport's work is little known but, as Trevelyan note, she drew, painted and worked as a scene-painter at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden for a number of years. She was born Clement (also Clemency) Hale before she married the novelist John Davenport, who was at Cambridge with Trevelyan. In May 1944 she left Davenport to marry their mutual friend, the composer William Glock but they later divorced.
Julian Trevelyan, <I>Indigo Days</I>, London, 1957, p. 105-6
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