Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Miss Jekyll's Gardening Boots, 1920
William Nicholson
Oil on wood, 595 x 673 x 57 mm
Tate , London

Gertrude Jekyll (her brother was a friend of Robert Lewis Stevenson and may have borrowed the Jekyll name for his famous story) was a well known garden designer and according to the Tate blurb, was particularly difficult. Nicholson is said to have painted her boots while waiting for her to show up for a sitting.

"Nicholson enjoyed finding the revelation of character in clothing"

While I am not particularly prone to still-lifes, (which Nicholson is known for) I am attracted to pictures of shoes. I am surprised that I am sharing this painting before one of my most favorite paintings of shoes, but all in good time. I enjoyed my art classes when I was younger and one of my favorite drawings which I don't think I will ever forget was one of my favorite pairs of shoes (actually I only drew the one shoe). It was my "blooker"(I can't find anything referring to this term, only info on blooks which are apparently books that stem from blogs).

Essentially a preppy oxford (made by Eastland, I didn't like the "fake" ones, I had the brown ones at the top.) it was popular to make knot rings out of the shoelaces (though I folded them over and tucked them in the sides). I obviously digress, but my attachment to the shoes and to that drawing (it was okay) might give a little insight as to my attachment to artistic images of shoes. I agree with Nicholson's assessment of character and clothing and he has achieved that with this worn pair of boots. Shoes take on the shape of their wearer as well as their life and work, they are an excellent inanimate source of artistic interest.

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