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Pictor Ignotus [active 1930s-1940s]



[From the catalogue-in-progress for “Landscapes & Livestock”, a loan exhibition for Agincourt Homecoming in the Fall of 2015]

Pictor Ignotus [active 1930s]

Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London


mixed media on cream paper / 14.6 inches by 10.6 inches

The newest addition to the collection, this drawing was never intended to be seen by anyone other than its artist. As a preliminary study for a larger finished work, this sketch includes considerable information on the buildings that once stood at the eastern edge of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, including the church of St Augustine, Watling Street; both were works of architect Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire of 1666. Notes about materials, their textures and staining, would have guided the artist in creating a more authentic rendition of a favorite tourist destination—then and now. German bombs destroyed St Augustine in 1941, however, so this view of Watling Street has changed, almost beyond recognition.

One hundred years ago, on May 8th, 1915, RMS Lusitania sank in the Atlantic Ocean just a few miles from the coast of Ireland, victim of hubris and a German torpedo. It was thought at the time that young Agincourt architect Anson Tennant disappeared with the ship, interrupting his pilgrimage to England and the Arts & Crafts movement he had embraced. Tennant survived, however, and was reunited with his family in 1936. On the centennial of the Lusitania sinking, this drawing has been given to the Community Collection by an anonymous donor in memory of Anson Tennant.

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