Lot 191: Patrick Swift (1927-1983)
The Irish Sale including the William and Joan Roth Collection
May 14, 2004
London, United Kingdom
Portrait of David Wright
stamped with the studio stamp 'PATRICK SWIFT/STUDIO' (on the reverse)
oil on board
48 1/4 x 42 3/4 in. (122.5 x 108.6 cm.)
Patrick Swift first met David Wright in the spring of 1953 in the small bar of the Duke of Wellington at the corner of Wardour and Old Compton Street. This was then the favoured rendezvous of the artistic set of poets and painters that made up Soho society. Swift recalled this first meeting in a homage to Wright written many years later to celebrate his sixtieth birthday: 'It is not necessary to have read the works of David Wright to know on meeting him that you are meeting a poet. Nor has this sensation anything to do with the great head of prematurely white (as it was then) hair recalling, almost ridiculously, portraits of Yeats'. (J. O'Mara ed., Patrick Swift 1927-1983, Cork, 1993, p. 57.)
Soon after this meeting, Swift asked Wright to sit for the present work. Wright spent two or three mornings a week travelling to Swift's studio in Camden Town and remembers that 'after a morning's sitting we would generally drift down to the pub, and there my education, in matters literary, philosophical, cultural and historical would be resumed' (ibid. p. 180). The pair discussed their plan to create a new literary magazine, a quarterly which would publish writing on artistic issues they felt to be of importance. This became the now famous magazine X. X promoted the work of then unknown painters such as the young Frank Auerbach and Craigie Aitchison, and others such as Lucian Freud and David Bomberg. Their work was reproduced in the
magazine and it was Swift's idea to let the artists speak for
themselves by publishing notebooks or recorded conversations.
Upon Swift's death in July 1983, Wright wrote that 'Patrick Swift (was) my closest friend for more than thirty years... I have always felt
honoured that he chose me for a friend' (ibid. p.179).
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis
Provenance: Mrs Patrick Swift, and by descent.
Artist or Maker: Patrick Swift (1927-1983)