A collection of works by English artist David Rolt is coming up for auction at Berkshire’s Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auction in October.
One of the most sought-after English portrait and landscape painters of the 1940s and 1950s, Rolt was born in Yorkshire in 1916 and partially crippled at birth when a forceps delivery damaged his skull. This left him with a lifelong disability in both his right arm and in one of his legs. However, the handicap would not hinder his rapidly developing artistic talent which secured him a place at the Slade School of Fine Art.
Rolt’s landscape paintings, characterised by his use of bold line and colour, can be seen to reflect the emotional climate of his personal life. His works range from idyllic sun-drenched country scenes such as ‘Flowery Landscape’ (estimated at £600 – £800), to wintry-bleak windswept trees and harsh rocky landscapes.
Between 1949 and 1957, leading London gallerist Sir Jack BaeRlor staged five exhibitions of Rolt’s work at the Hazlitt Gallery. Baer said of Rolt, “Never a flashy painter. He painted with craftsmanship and elegant intelligence”. Rolt also achieved international success, with his first solo exhibition in Cape Town in 1936, and subsequent shows in Istanbul (1966) and New York (1973). His paintings were also shown at the Royal Academy and The New English Art Club.
Best known, perhaps, for his portraits of celebrated figures including the likes of Lord Audley and Winston Churchill, this collection of pictures offers an insight into Rolt’s lifelong dedication to depicting landscapes, both at home and abroad, with work from Istanbul and France, as well as a number of paintings produced in Berkshire and Wiltshire, where the artist spent the last two decades of his life.