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Item details: Identity number equal to 2009.35.1

Percy Horton (1897-1970)
Mrs Simpson

painting (oil on canvas)

Mrs Simpson's is a face that has dignity and it is pitted with experience; her job was to take in washing in Ambleside, Cumbria. Percy Horton painted this whilst teaching at the Royal College of Art which had been evacuated to Ambleside during the Second World War. During this period Horton was inspired by the Cumbrian landscape and, as this portrait demonstrates, the local community. Horton writes about this painting in a letter to his friend Walter Strachan, 18 February 1942, 'I am struggling to finish two canvasses - one a snowscape which is nearly there & the other a portrait (or character study) which is one of the best things of this kind I have done for some time. It is of an old woman in a blue-grey coat, with a sort of plaid (or chequered) scarf round her neck. It is going well & if I can get it done in time I think I might try it on the R.A. I have not sent there since 1931 but as it is one of the few shows which keep going & as I have missed two recent exhibitions through pre-occupation with troubles of various kinds I think I may try to show that I am still alive - even though buried away.'

oil (top right of painting): Percy Horton - '43

Gift of the Horton Estate, 2009

The Artist as Evacuee: The Royal College of Art in the Lake District 1940-1945, The Wordsworth Trust, 1987
Reference 2009.35.1