Painting of the Month – February



February’s Painting of the Month has been chosen by Jessica Cooper RWA. She has chosen Sunday Afternoon by William Brooker.

‘William Brooker was born in Croydon, Surrey in 1918. Between the years 1936 and 1949 he studied at Croydon School of Art, Chelsea School of Art and Goldsmiths, London. Brooker then went on to teach at several art institutions including Bath, Willesden and Harrow. In 1965 he became senior lecturer at the Central School of Art, London and then principal of Wimbledon College of Art between 1969 and 1981.

Brooker had his first solo show at Arthur Tooth and Sons in 1955 and showed later in his career at the RWA, RA, Leicester Gallery and Agnews in London. The RWA acquired the painting Sunday Afternoon in 1952 for their collection and the Tate purchased Still Life New Studio in 1975. His work is held in numerous collections including the Tate, Arts Council, Aberdeen Art Gallery and galleries in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil.  Brooker died in 1983 and a retrospective of his work was held at Newcastle Polytechnic in 1987. His work is listed at present with the galleries Piano Nobile, London and Louise Kosman, Edinburgh.

I selected this painting from the RWA collection simply because, on first seeing it, it stuck in my mind and I kept going back to look at it. Researching further I couldn’t find any information on the painting itself, but after an initial panic about this I felt that that was not what was important. It is the direct response and connection that an individual has with a piece of art that is important. Although having said that, I do plan to research this work further in 2016 as one of my resolutions!

I love the muted palette and the calmness of the painting. The flat planes of colour, the sparseness of the floor and the walls conflicting with the intricacy of the crockery on the tray. The title of the work invites us to imagine our own story of a Sunday afternoon: I think of my son and his girlfriend, of two people captured on canvas in a world of their own.’ – Jessica Cooper RWA

This painting was bought by the RWA at the 100th annual exhibition in 1952.


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