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George Owen Wynne Apperley (1938-1960)
Pepita 1929
watercolour
29.5 x 23.5 cm
Gift of Howard Hinton 1938

 

Born 1884, Isle of Wight, England. Died 1960, Tangier, Morocco.

Apperley's aristocratic family disapproved of his early interest in art, fearing it would lead to an unstable profession. Consequently, he was sent to strict Victorian boarding schools in an attempt to direct his interests to more respectable pursuits. Despite this, in 1903, he began his artistic studies at the Herkomer Academy, a reputed learning centre near London. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1905 and then mounted his first individual exhibition in London in 1906. His reputation grew and he was elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Watercolour Artists in 1913.

Apperley became fascinated by the Mediterranean after a trip to Italy in 1904. In 1916 he moved to Spain, where he worked prolifically on paintings of Andalusian women. He interacted with local artists and was interested in depicting the traditional costumes of the region. He was commissioned to paint the portraits of dignitaries and continued to have his works exhibited in London, despite living away from his country of birth. His reputation grew and he was privileged to have his 1918 exhibition in Madrid opened by the Spanish King and Queen. The hostilities of the Spanish civil war led him to relocate to Tangier in 1932. However, he returned to his Granada studio frequently and continued to paint Spanish subjects.

This picture depicts the artist's young wife, her head turned to the viewer. Her shiny hair, pleasant smile and engaging eyes make this a captivating portrait. It was purchased by Hinton in Granada during his prolonged trips through England and Europe from 1928-1931, following his retirement from merchant shipping. In his correspondence to the Armidale Teachers' College Hinton noted that “this water-colour has the strength of an oil”.