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5 October 2015
Ten days ago some of us from Persephone went to Beverley in Yorkshire in homage to two of our very favourite painters FW Elwell and his wife Mary. This week on the post: Fred, and next week: Mary. Fred was born in 1870 and partly educated in Antwerp (and, yes, the word Vermeer often comes to mind). From 1903 onwards he lived in Beverley and in 1914 he married Mary. They had no children but were deeply involved in Beverley life. We have used two Fred Elwells in the Persephone Catalogue, to illustrate The Priory and The Winds of Heaven, and a Mary Elwell to illustrate Miss Buncle Married. Virtually every one of our books could be illustrated by Elwell and it is no coincidence that when he died in 1958 The Times obituary was headed ‘A Painter of Domesticity’. And of course one reason we love Fred and Mary’s work so much is that it is domestic and very often it tells a story. This is Police Court 1938 which illustrates They Knew Mr Knight (1934) on our website. The beautiful room in the Guildhall has not changed at all, although is no longer used as a court.
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