Marian Jeffares 1916-1986

August 25 2016

Image of Marian Jeffares 1916-1986

Picture: Neil Jeffares

Regular readers will know about Neil Jeffares' art historical work, and also his blog. He is the leading expert on French 18th Century pastels, and his freely searchable Dictionary of Pastellists has revolutionised our ability to learn more about this unjustly neglected corner of painting. AHN appointed him a 'Hero of Art History' some time ago, though such is his modesty and industriousness that he will squirm to read these sentences. 

Anyway, I've just read his extraordinary and moving account of the life and work of his mother, Marian Jeffares, who is, as Neil says, 'entirely forgotten' these days, though she enjoyed critical success in her lifetime. Above is a drawing made during the war, in 1944. I encourage AHNers to read it, not only because the story is fascinating in itself, but also because I've rarely seen an example of art writing that is at once so compellingly passionate and dispassionate about an artist and their work. It is in that sense a powerful example of good art criticism - which of course is the fundamental skill of a connoisseur (and Neil is a great connoisseur).

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