A LONDON SQUARE, POSSIBLY NEAR REGENTS PARK
bears label to backboard: London Landscape / Paul Ayshford Methuen / C/O Warren Gallery
Oil on board
39 x 34 cm
The location in the present work bears a resemblance to that depicted in London By Moonlight, a work commissioned by the WAAC (War Artists Advisory Committee) now in the Imperial War Museum (Cat. No. Art.IWM ART LD 622).
Paul Ayshford Methuen was born at his family's ancestral home Corsham Court, Wiltshire. He was the eldest child of Field Marshal Paul Methuen and was educated at Eton and New College, where he studied Natural Sciences. While up at Oxford he also studied painting under Sir Charles Holmes at the Ruskin. He studied amphibians and reptiles at the Transvaal Museum in Pretoria prior to the war, where he published with John Hewitt, a respected herpetologist. Following service in the War, he worked in the Ministry of Agriculture.
In 1927 he attended art classes given by the then elderly Walter Sickert, who had an immediate effect upon his oil painting. From this time forth Methuen established himself as an artist of note, with his first exhibition at the Warren Gallery in 1928. He had solo shows at the Leciester Galleries and Colnaghi’s and exhibited also at the RA and NEAC. He was a trustee of the National Gallery and the Tate. He served from 1939-1944, re-joining his regiment as Captain, but he was moved to the Procurement and Fine Art branch. He was also commissioned by the WAAC (War Advisory Artists Committee), mainly for London dockyard scenes. He published his recollections of his time in the Monuments Men (see Bibliography below) which included a large number of illustrations of the various grand houses and locations visited in Normandy and Belgium.
Later in life, having succeeded his father as Baron Methuen, he worked hard on the restoration of Corsham Court, both architecturally and in terms of its collection. The house had a Picture Gallery which had been designed by Capability Brown, and he sought to expand the collection display there both by acquiring new works and buying back works that his father the 3rd Baron had sold off. He was eventually able to publish two catalogues of the works in the collection.
In 1946 he offered the house to the Bath Academy of Art, which was previously the Bath School of Art before it was destroyed by bombing in 1942. The house is now partly used by Bath Spa University, as well as being the residence of the 8th Baron Methuen, James Methuen-Campbell.
* Normandy Diary: Being a Record of Survivals and Losses of Historical Monuments in North-Western France, together with those in the island of Walcheren and in that Part of Belgium traversed by 21st Army Group in 1944-45 - Robert Hale Ltd., London (1952)