Sir Gerald Festus Kelly

Article by Darren Rousar. Most recently updated in November of 2019.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly painting Edith Teresa Hulton (1923).Sir Gerald Kelly painting Edith Teresa Hulton, wife of the 8th Lord Berwick, 1923. Note the height of the model stand.
At that height, the model would be seen as being slightly above the artist’s eye-level when he was back in the viewing position.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly was born in London in 1879. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 1901, Gerald’s father, the Vicar of Camberwell, sent him to France to study painting.

In a 1956 television interview, Kelly reminisced about his years as an art student in Paris: “When I got to Paris, something went ‘bang’ inside me, and I, who had never gone to lectures or ever worked, had been utterly lazy, started to paint. I painted as long as the light lasted and, by and large, I have done that ever since.” *

He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1930 and became its President in 1949. Kelly painted many portraits of the royal family and he was knighted in 1945.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Edith Teresa Hulton (1923)Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Edith Teresa Hulton, wife of the 8th Lord Berwick, 1923.

Kelly claimed that Whistler was an early influence on his work. That influence can be seen in a number of his portraits, especially those of his wife, Lilian Ryan, whom he first met in 1916 when she was working as an artist’s model. He married her in 1920. He painted many portraits of Lilian, titling them Jane, followed by a roman numeral of the year he first exhibited the painting.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, <em>Portrait of Jane with a White Shawl XXVIISir Gerald Festus Kelly, Portrait of Jane with a White Shawl XXVII

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Portrait of Jane with a White Shawl XXVII (detail 1)Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Portrait of Jane with a White Shawl XXVII. Detail 1.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Portrait of Jane with a White Shawl XXVII (detail 2)Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Portrait of Jane with a White Shawl XXVII. Detail 2.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Portrait of Jane XIX  (unfinished).An unfinished version of one of the painting’s of his wife Lilian (aka, Jane). Portrait of Jane XIX.
Note the grid-lines.

Kelly was good friend’s with the author, Somerset Maugham, who he painted him 18 times. In kind, Maugham used Kelly as a character in a number of his stories.

Portrait of Sir Gerald Kelly, RA by Oswald Birley.Portrait of Sir Gerald Kelly, RA by Oswald Birley.

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Miss J.Sir Gerald Festus Kelly, Miss J., Portrait of Miss Elizabeth June Thornton (1945)

For an interesting read about this painting, the sitter and Kelly, see here.

*This quote was taken from here.

steps-to-seeing-cta-2021

GET YOUR FREE GUIDE

And begin learning how to draw what you see today!
.

Your privacy is as important to me as is my own. I'll never give out your information and you can unsubscribe anytime through the link at the bottom of all my emails to you. Still not sure? See the site's privacy policy.

After your Free Guide arrives you can expect more free content!

The Sight-Size Cast banner.

Learn Sight-Size cast drawing through the
full-length book,
The Sight-Size Cast!

Learning how to accurately see, as well as draw, is best done through Sight-Size cast drawing. Ateliers exist worldwide to help you do that. But what if you cannot afford atelier training, or there is not an atelier nearby? Or, perhaps you are already in an atelier and would like to supplement that training?

You can learn how to see through Sight-Size, or enhance what you already know with Darren R. Rousar's book The Sight-Size Cast.