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LIVE 24-SEVEN


only endless landscape views and women, but many beautifully observed drawings of androgynous men or men in uniforms at rest or play. These sketchbooks were not intended for public view, but are a remarkable and rare document of gay love in the 1920s and ‘30s.


Despite having grown a moderate reputation for himself in Yorkshire, Wainwright never achieved the same level of commercial success or recognition as his school friend Henry Moore and had to supplement his art-making with teaching. In March 1943 he applied for and was offered a post as art teacher at Bridlington School for the duration of the war. He had been with the school for only three months when he was suddenly taken ill with meningitis and died on a bus on his way home to Harrogate in September 1943.


In 1927 Wainwright was made temporary art master at Castleford School for two years when Miss Gostick fell ill. It was during this time that he made his first visit to Germany on a school excursion. The visit had an overwhelming effect on him and he fell in love with the countryside and the people. It would become the first of many trips he would make between then and 1938, sometimes on his own and sometimes with his partner George Collins. These trips yielded a huge number of beautifully illustrated sketch books featuring the people and the landscape he came to love. These trips to Europe not only captured the surroundings, but also the changing face of politics at this time with the rise of the fascist movement in Germany.


Wainwright also filled countless sketchbooks with views much closer to home featuring everything from the rolling landscapes to the industrial towns of his home county, Yorkshire. In 1930 the family bought a cottage at Robin Hood’s Bay where he spent every summer painting watercolour portraits of holidaymakers, scenes of the beach and the town’s red roof tops.


Wainwright received many commissions to design the sets and costumes for local theatres, including the Leeds Civic Playhouse and the Leeds Art Theatre, for plays ranging from Greek tragedy and restoration comedy, to the modern dramas of Ibsen, Chekov and Shaw. These would eventually amount to more than 100 productions, the most ambitious of which was the Miracle Play held at Kirkstall Abbey in 1927 for which he designed over 700 costumes.


Wainwright often refers to his sexual identity as a gay man in his work and his sketchbooks are filled with drawings of not


LIVE24-SEVEN.COM


While Wainwright only lived to the relatively young age of 45, he left a prolific body of work including thousands of watercolours, drawings, painted ceramics, costume and theatre designs and book illustrations, which reveal him to be an artist of powerful inventiveness and ability. Over recent years there has been an ever-growing awareness and appreciation of his work with auction prices rising steadily and his work featuring in publications, online blogs and one-man shows. Although he left a huge body of work behind, they don’t come up for sale that often, but keep an eye out as they have a long way to go! WHERE TO BUY Fieldings Auctioneers Ltd: Fieldings have been fortunate enough to handle the largest number of works from the Wainwright archive. Contact Will Farmer or register at their website for alerts and updates.


WHERE TO GO The Hepworth Wakefield is home to the largest public collections of his work, gifted by the artist’s sister Maud Wainwright in 1981.


WHAT TO READ Albert & Otto: Albert Wainwright's Visual Diary of Love in the 20s.


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BUYERS GUIDE ALBER T WAINWRIGHT


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