Ezra Pound revisited London from Rapallo in 1938–39 in order to wind up the estate of his wife’s mother, Olivia Shakespear. He and Wyndham Lewis were old friends, having been leaders of the Vorticist movement in 1914, collaborating on the magazine, Blast. In 1938 Lewis won notoriety again when his oil portrait of their mutual friend T.S. Eliot was rejected by the Royal Academy hanging committee amid much controversy. The current drawing is one of a series of four heads of Pound drawn in preparation for the major oil portrait of Pound painted in 1939, now in the Tate Gallery. Its assured, improvisatorial character is reflected in the informality of the oil portrait itself. The former owner, D.G. Bridson, was a BBC Radio producer friendly with both Pound and Lewis. He dramatised several of Lewis’s novels for the Third Programme, and secured a commission for the now blind Lewis to complete his most ambitious work of fiction, The Childermass. Bridson dramatised the continuation, which was broadcast to great acclaim before publication in 1956. In gratitude, Lewis gave him the drawing.
We are very grateful to Professor Paul Edwards for preparing this catalogue entry.