Today I worked well – the picture fell off the brush: The artistry of Leslie Cole
Artist(s): Leslie Cole
Author(s): Malcolm Yorke
Format: Hardback clothbound
Year published: 2010
Publisher: Fleece Press
Publisher Location: Upper Denby, Huddersfield
Total Pages: 200
Illustrations: Includes over 130 colour illustrations
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Edition of 500 copies.
Leslie Cole, who trained under Bawden and Ravilious at the Royal College of Art in the 1930s, produced some of the finest paintings when appointed an Official War Artist, and his watercolours are especially fine, many in a Ravilious mould. Cole travelled through Germany (recording the scenes of horrific trauma at Belsen a week after its liberation), France, Malta and the Far East, where he recorded the action in Borneo and Singapore, a theatre of the war largely forgotten by Europeans today. Cole’s work was the equal of any other war artist, and yet he was unable, for personal or other reasons, to maintain the momentum after the war, when he seems to have slid very slowly downhill, and his early promise was unfulfilled.
Cole’s wife Brenda had a very colourful teenage history, being the chief prosecution witness for the Church of England when they prosecuted the Rector of Stiffkey for importuning young girls. She disguised this past very ably through her life and may not even have told her husband. Her identity – kept secret even when the BBC tried to find her in the 1980s – was revealed to friends before she died, and for the unconvinced, a meticulous genealogical investigation by Christopher Whittick and Julian Moore ties up the details very neatly.
200 pages with over 130 colour illustrations, the book is quarter bound in cloth and beautiful blue marbled paper made by Louise Brockman.