CHARLES STEWART: BLACK AND WHITE GOTHIC │ Royal Academy of Arts, London → 15 February 2015

UNCLE SILAS, title page, 1947
UNCLE SILAS, title page, 1947

“Unsetlñ, uɖrwrldli n mrdṛs ṣnarioz r dṛmatcli plêd ât in Čālz Stywt’s dseptvli simpl bciḷstrešnz, strîcñ xamplz v ɖ nglctd Britiš tṛdišn v blac n ẇît bcāt.

Iḷstretr Čālz Stywt (1915–2001) wz hwntd bî ɖ Victorịn novl Uncl Sîḷs (1864) fr ovr 40 yirz. Jôzif Šeridn L’Fanu’z têl v Mwd Rūʈin, a nîīv ẹres in peṛl, inspîrd Stywt t pṛdys a set v 30 fl-pêj pen n ñc drōñz, in ɖ manr v ɖ grt grafic ātists v ɖ nîntīnʈ senčri.

Ɖ novl têcs plês wɖn ɖ confînz v a nglctd cuntrīhâs n its grândz. Ɖ dce z moṛl az wel az fizicl, az hints v mrdr, iṃraḷti n ɖ ocult hovr arnd ɖ spectṛl Sîḷs. A fasinetñ are v inflụnsz fwmd Stywt’s prsnl vižn v Sîḷs, Mwd n ɖ hâs Bātṛm-Hw; inflụnsz w cn îdntifî fṛm hiz ācîv, held in ɖ RA C̣lẋn. Filmstilz n ʈiytrdizînz, prufs n publišñmtirı̣lz fṛm ɖ abwtv Bodli Hed idišn v Uncl Sîḷs (1948) r dspled alñsd ɖ decṛtv bîndñdizînz md fr ɖ idišn fîṇli riylîzd bî ɖ Fôliossayti in 1988.”


Ɖ xtrōḍnri lîf v Čālz Stywt
az dscrîbd bî Harịt Bêcr

“Čālz Stywt’s iḷstrešnz t ɖ Goʈc novl Uncl Sîḷs hint at an unyžl lîf. Hir r fîv ṣprîzñ facts.

  • H gru p in an iyri casl

Čālz Stywt’s obsešn wɖ ɖ Goʈc z phps unṣprîzñ gvn hiz čîldhd. H wz born in 1915, n gru p in a Victorı̣n manšn cwld Šambli, nir Dumfrīz in Scotḷnd. Ɖ land hd bn ônd bî ɖ Stywt famli sns 1625, wɖ ɖ hâs bilt in 1855 bî Dêvid Brîs, a līdñ Victorı̣n Scotiš ācitect. Ɖ hâs wz lit bî ýļamps n candlz… t a sml čîld it sīmd a jaynt’s casl, Stywt lêtr rout, Ɖ mistirı̣s upr rījnz imitd stātlñ crīcs n bumps n at tîmz a krı̣s sliɖrñ sând.

  • H wz a conšienšs objctr

Jrñ ɖ Secnd Wrldwor, Stywt srvd az a strečrbẹrr in Lundn. Êjd 24, h wz pôstd t ɖ Eŗêd Pricwšn Depo in Baṭsi, ẇr h livd in (anɖr) hyj Victorı̣n hâs on ɖ ej v Wondzwrʈ Comn. Jrñ hiz fri tîm h bgan t drw – scečñ hiz colīgz n ɖ depôcat. It wz olso jrñ ɖz munʈs ɖt h frst réd Šeridn L’Fanu’z 1864 novl, Uncl Sîḷs, ɖ stwri v a yuñ grl’z impriznmnt in a Goʈc manšn at ɖ handz v hr scīmñ uncl. Stywt rcwld: Ɖ riyl wor sīmd krı̣sli rmôt. In ɖs stêt v limbo Uncl Sîḷs bcem a mīnz v wiɖdrwl fṛm ɖ añzaytiz n dsōrı̣ntešn v a lîf mr unriyl ɖn ɖ wrld v ɖ bc.

V hiz ôn acwd, h bgan t wrc on iḷstrešnz t ɖ bc – ẇč wr fîṇli publišt in ɖ 1980z. Ɖz r ɖ wrcs y cn si in âr Tennt Gaḷri.

  • H wz a balêdansr

In 1932 Stywt inrold at ɖ Baym Šw Scūl v Drōñ n Pêntñ, n ẇl a stydnt ɖr h dscuvrd an unlîcli pašn. Ɖ nyli fwmd Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo hd arîvd in Lundn, n Stywt wz captivetd bî its ṗetc fyžn v dansñ, myzic n ʈiatricl dzîn. H stātd têcñ balêlesnz n bî 1936 wz pfwmñ wɖ ɖ cor d’bale at Covnt Gādn undr Sr Toṃs Bīčm. Ɖ sīzn includd a pfwmns v Saḷme cnductd bî its cmpozr, Ričrd Strâs. Bt Stywt’s cnflictñ ātistc alījnsz cōzd probḷmz. H hd bn awōdd a scolršp t Baym Šw, n its prinṣpl, Ŕnist Jacsn, dlivrd hm an ultimetm: h wz t čūz îɖr drōñ or dansñ. Consiqntli, Stywt gev p bale t cntiny wɖ hiz ātstudiz.

  • H c̣lctd costymz

Drivn bî hiz intrest in ɖ ʈiytr, Stywt c̣lctd 18ʈ n 19ʈ senčri costymz. H wd scâr Pwṭbelôrôd n Brmndzi mācits, n apaṛntli friqntd wn dīlr’z šop in Sôho ẇr h hd t rumij ʈru truncs in a grîmi aticrūm fl v cats.

In 1954, Stywt bwt a lîfsîz ātist’s modl fṛm ɖ 19ʈ senčri. Ɖr r mni stwriz abt Rôzi, az h cwld hr. Acwdñ t âr kretr, Amanda-Jên Dwṛn, Rôzi wz acčli ɖ fevrit v tu wŭdn modlz – hu in Stywt’s mînd dd’nt gt on. Rôzi apaṛntli wns fel in ɖ strīm at Šambli, hvñ bn pšt bî ɖs uɖr dol. Bt phps hr most trîumfnt mmnt wz ẇn Stywt lound hr t ɖ ātist Pietro Anigôni, n fr ʈri wīcs š std in fr ɖ Qīn at Bucñm Paḷs, drest in gātŗôbz, ẇlst Anigôni finišt hiz ofišl pwtrit v ɖ Moṇc.

In 1977, Stywt dnetd hiz 2000-stroñ costymc̣lẋn t ɖ Našnl Myziymz v Scotḷnd n, in 1982, Šambli wz ôpnd az ɖ Našnl Myziym v Costym. Sadli, it hz sns clozd dân.

  • H dîd in Oxfd

Stywt rtrnd t Šambli in ɖ 1960z t têc cer v ɖ istet n hiz inṿlid faɖr, līvñ hiz lîf in Lundn n hiz rôl az jýnt prínṣpl v ɖ Baym Šw Scūl. Aftr twenti yirz in Scotḷnd, h ɖen spent ɖ last yirz v hiz lîf in šeltrd hâzñ in Oxfd, ẇr Rôzi rmend wɖ hm untl h dîd. Rôzi ferd rɖr btr, n nâ livz a fînr lîf in Cenzñtn Paḷs.”

Self-portrait, c. 1942. Chalk on paper.
Self-portrait, c. 1942. Chalk on paper.

GAḶRI WEBSAIT


Su Bradbri, Đ FÔLIÔSSAYTI, 13 Jaňri 2015


One thought on “CHARLES STEWART: BLACK AND WHITE GOTHIC │ Royal Academy of Arts, London → 15 February 2015

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