Unframed (ref: 5560)
Draught screen on four panels,
each 122 x 61 cm (48 x 24 in.),
overall 122 x 244 cm (48 x 96 in.)
Oil on hardboard
Provenance: in the artist’s possession until 1979; thence with
his wife Eleanor Christie-Chatterley until 2012.
Literature: Buckman, David, Nature and Humanity, The Work
of Fyffe Christie, 1918:1979, Sansom & Co, 2004, p 11.
The model for the Lady Shalott was Christie’s wife Eleanor (née Munro), whom he met in 1950 when teaching evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. She recalls that ‘Moving from Glasgow to London in 1956 Fyffe found himself at first without a mural commission and hit on the notion of a free standing screen/ wall hanging.
The rhythms and movement of Tennyson’s romantic verse inspired this
strongly structured composition of curve and vertical, rich colour and intricate detail.’ Fyffe Christie produced over 20 large murals during his life time, amongst the earliest of which was Christ Feeding the People, for Iona Community House, was produced during his 1950/51 post-diploma year.
Painter, draughtsman, muralist and teacher, born in Bushey, Hertfordshire, son of a commercial artist and illustrator, George Christie. From the age of 12 Christie lived in Glasgow, from 1934 working in a solicitor's office, then became an apprentice lithographic draughtsman and during World War II served in the Scottish Rifles, resulting work finding its way into the Imperial War Museum. Christie studied at Glasgow School of Art, 1946-50, mural painting under Walter Pritchard. He gained the Newberry Medal in 1950 and a post-diploma year's study. After a period teaching and a six-month travelling scholarship taken on the continent Christie resumed teaching and completed many murals, including Glasgow University and the Iona Community House. With his wife Eleanor, a sculptor, he moved to London in 1957 and again taught, while completing murals and much other work. Christie and his wife held a show at Woodlands Gallery in 1979, shortly before he died. This showed him to be a painter with a rich palette, notable for his female nude studies, as well as a consummate draughtsman. His widow did much to promote Christie's work after his death. There were exhibitions at Cyril Gerber Fine Art, Glasgow, and Fairhurst Gallery in 1988, preceded by a show of his drawings at Glasgow School of Art. He was included in Children & Childhood at the City Art Centre, Edinburgh, in 1989; there was a large show of his schoolchildren drawings at the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, 1991; and further small exhibitions at Blackheath Concert Halls and in Norwich. In 2004, there was an exhibition at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, accompanied by a monograph, Nature and Humanity, The Work of Fyffe Christie 1918-1979, published by Sansom & Company Ltd.