Harry Keay

Dorothea’s Bonnet

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Harry Keay

Dorothea’s Bonnet

Regular price $1,417.00
Unit price
per 
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This mid-20th-century oil painting by British artist Harry Keay (1914-1994) depicts a still life with a book, bonnet, teacup and sewing paraphernalia. It was shown at the Royal Society of British Artists.

In a quiet corner of the home, a well-thumbed novel, ‘Dorothea’s Bonnet’, rests upon a tablecloth. Keay’s wife was Dorothy, and the lace, thread and thimble suggest it’s probably her sewing table. Perhaps she retired here in the evening while sipping tea from her elegant porcelain.

Keay was a remarkable artist who worked with his left hand due to a disability. During his early training in Dundee, Dame Laura Knight singled him out for praise. In a letter to Lord Provost Phin in 1936 she wrote: "I should like to bring to your most special notice the achievements and extraordinary talent of the boy student with the disabled arm, in whose work I perceive an extremely rare talent, together with a power of execution that is altogether out of the common." That year he had a picture hung in the Royal Scottish Academy and went on to contribute annually.

This particular piece is one of his most acclaimed and mentioned in a newspaper report from 1953.

“Invitation to Angus artists. Mr Harry Keay, Dundee, is among a number of well-known artists invited to exhibit at the autumn exhibition of Galashiels Art Society from Friday of this week until September 27. Mr Keay who lives at Romney, Dalrymple Terrace, is an art teacher at Morgan Academy, and has exhibited at the Royal Academy. His choice for the forthcoming exhibition is ‘Dorothea's Bonnet’ an oil painting which has already been on view at the Royal British Artists Society (sic) exhibition in London and the ‘20’ Club exhibition in Dundee.”

Signed/dated lower right and held within a later frame.

Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 25½” x 23½” / 75cm x 60cm
Year of creation: 1950
Labels & Inscriptions: Inscribed on reverse.
Provenance: Private collection, Holland.
Condition: Artwork presents well. Fine craquelure but the paint is stable. Frame with some light wear.

Harry Keay

Harry Keay

Harry Keay (1890-1948) was an accomplished Scottish painter of landscapes, portraits and still lifes. He trained at the Dundee College of Art and his works were shown at the Royal Academy, Royal Scottish Academy, and Royal Society of British Artists. In 1936, Dame Laura Knight described him as possessing an ‘extremely rare talent’. Dundee Art Galleries and Museum holds examples.

Learn more about Harry Keay in our directory.

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