I am currently writing a book about the artist, Thomas Hennell (1903-45), who was the subject of Gabriel Berner’s recent article ‘War artist’s peaceful rural views’ (Art Market, ATG No 2302).
My quest is to trace two watercolours by Hennell which are proving elusive; both are signed and dated to 1938.
The first I would like to find is A portrait of Mr Greening (in his carpentry workshop at 13 Gretton Road, Winchcombe). This was sold by Bruton Knowles at the Tithe Barn, Southam, near Cheltenham, on February 11, 1999.
Mr Greening would have been in his sixties when Hennell painted him, and probably had a moustache (as in earlier photographs).
Hennell’s portrait of Mr Greening’s daughter-in-law, Marion Greening, was painted the same week and was auctioned at Brightwells in Leominster on June 19, 2013.
The second ‘missing’ watercolour shows Thomas Hennell’s home, ‘Orchard Cottage’, which stands in Ridley, near Wrotham in Kent. This picture was sold at Duke’s in Dorset on July 7, 2005. Hennell lived in Orchard Cottage for the last decade of his life, and here welcomed some of the most famous names from the art world of his day (his guests included Paul Nash, Edward Bawden, Kenneth Clark, and Graham Sutherland, who often called in on his way home from Sunday mass).
This is the only known painting by Hennell of the house; a photograph of Orchard Cottage, taken by the present occupant, is shown above.
I would be very grateful for any leads. I can be contacted on 07703 359991 or via email at email@example.com.