George Charlton – Mr Grunter Squire Mumby’s sons & Mr Weston in the Graveyard

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Original illustration to ‘Mr Weston’s Good Wine’ by T.F.Powys 1st published 1927 by Chatto and Windus, London. Pencil pen and black ink with touches of white, unsigned. Inscribed in ink with title: Mr Grunter, Squire Mumby’s sons & Mr Weston in the Graveyard. Framed and glazed. Provenance: Acquired by Ian Kellam (friend of the artist) from George Charlton’s wife Daphne, c1980.

Description

Mr Weston’s Good Wine is the unusual tale of the struggle between the forces of good and evil in a small Dorset village. Its action is limited to one winter’s evening when Time stands still and the bitter-sweet gift of awareness falls upon a dozen memorable characters. During the book a child knocked down by his car is miraculously brought back to life; the sign ‘Mr Weston’s Good Wine’ lights up the sky; and the villagers soon discover that the wine he sells is no ordinary wine.

In the book we get to know a great deal about their townspeople, especially about their amorous exploits under the oak-tree, activities keenly encouraged by the libidinous Mrs Vosper. There’s a lot of lusty sex in the book. Several girls are deflowered. Some people die. The vicar, having drunk Mr Weston’s wine, regains his faith.  Innocent Jenny Bunce falls in love with the angel in blue trousers on the inn-sign. A corpse is dug up.  The Mumby brothers pursue the Kiddle sisters. The men in the pub discuss the existence of God. Mr Grunter has his amorous eyes on the village maidens. It’s all very strange, very sensuous and allegorical.  Is it anti-religious or pro? It’s most beautifully written with some delicious humor.  Absolutely English.  Haunting. Probably a masterpiece.

The illustration and two other pictures by the artist were acquired from Ian Kellam, born in Sheffield, England in 1933. As a young chorister he studied with Dr. Tustin Baker, organist at Sheffield Cathedral. He later studied with Herbert Sumsion at Gloucester Cathedral, and then with Howard Ferguson at the Royal Academy of Music in London. At the time he was studying at The Royal Academy of Music where he met Daphne Charlton who then introduced him to Stanley Spencer. They became good friends and Ian would often play the piano at Stanley’s home.

Brand

Charlton, George (1899-1979)

Painter of landscapes, humorous genre and illustrator. Born 18 February 1899 in London. Studied at the Slade School from 1914 and joined the staff there 1919. Taught at Willesden School of Art 1949–59 and has been an examiner in Art for the University of London school examinations since 1931. Exhibited at the N.E.A.C. from 1916, member 1926 and Hon. Treasurer 1958. First one-man exhibition at the Redfern Gallery 1924. His wife Daphne Charlton, who survived him until 1991, was for many years a close associate of the painter Stanley Spencer. Charleton's house in Hampstead, North London, was described as "an Aladdin's cave of pictures". The artist Evan Charlton was George's brother.
Image

11 in x 7½ in. (28 cm x 19 cm.)

Frame or Mount

16 ¾ in x 13 in. (42.4 cm x 33 cm.)