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Sir John Mills

Sir Richard and Lady Attenborough, gifted by the above


Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 12 British Painters, British Council, 23 October 1948 -1 November 1948, cat no.46, touring to: Dusseldorf, Kunstammlungen Der Stadt, 27 November - 18 December 1948 Hamburg, Kunsthalle, 5 January - 30 January 1949 Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, 1 February - 8 March 1949 Luxembourg, Musee de l'Etat, 16 March - 27 March 1949 London, Arthur Tooth and Sons, Homage to Sir Matthew Smith, 16 February - 12 March 1960, cat no.18, illus b/w London, Royal Academy of Arts, A Memorial Exhibition of Works by Sir Matthew Smith C.B.E. 1879-1959, 15 October - 7 December 1960, p 14, cat no.230


John Gledhill, Matthew Smith, Catalogue Raisonné of the Oil Paintings, Lund Humphries, London, 2009, cat no.616, illus b./w p232


The title refers to Fryern Court, the Hampshire home of Smith's old friend Augustus John, and thus suggests that the present work was painted during Smith's stay from August to October 1944. Mary Keene was already staying there from May 1944 to escape the London bombing, and the invitation appears to have been prompted by her. During this period both Smith and John painted portraits of each other, and although Smith's painting of his friend (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh) seems to have been considered superior, with characteristic diffidence, Smith commented 'but then think of the model I had and the model he had' (Malcolm Yorke, Matthew Smith: His Life and Reputation, Faber & Faber, London 1997, p.185).