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Anonymous sale; Phillips, London, where purchased by the present owner.
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE FAMILY COLLECTION
Three works from a collection made by J.A.Paton Walker Esq., between 1943 and 1951 and which subsequently has been added to by the present owners.
J.A.Paton Walker was passionate about literature, music, theatre, film, ballet, politics and art, but above all he was a discriminating collector of contemporary British art at a pivotal time in its development.
When he died, aged 50, in 1955 he had a collection of over 75 pieces. Amongst these, some early works by Nicholson, Sutherland, Paul Nash, Yankel Adler and Epstein, a fine group of Wyndham Lewis's including two self-portraits (one of which is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London), a large ink and colour drawing from 1917 On the Western Front and an important group of 1930s drawings by Henry Moore. Some of these are now in National Collections.
The son of a Kilmarnock auctioneer, he read law at Glasgow and practiced in Kilmarnock before coming to London with his wife in 1942 to take up a post at the Ministry of Works.
The family lived in Ormonde Terrace, Primrose Hill at a time when St John's Wood - like Hampstead, was one of the most stimulating intellectual communities in London, where an extraordinary mix of emigré artists, writers and musicians were further drawn together by the ever present Blitz.
Paton Walker's broad interest in all the arts, his inquisitive mind and gregarious character rapidly drew him into this group. Being a lawyer he kept precise diaries, purchase records and correspondence, so we know in detail the cultural and social life they must have led.
They were active members of the Anglo French (Arts Club), International Arts Club and Contemporary Art Society and he was also involved with the Charlotte Street Centre and Hampstead Artists Council where from February 1949 he was Chairman of the Exhibition Committee. It was here that he had met Cecil Stephenson (who introduced him to Henry Moore), as well as Kenneth and Mary Martin and Misha Rachlis.