1 Burnham Chase, Southampton SO18 5DG Tel 023 80 462723
Member of TEG      Director Hilda Margery Clarke BA (Hons), FRSA

An English Francophile

Eric Meadus (1931-70)

Paintings & Drawings

This short lived artist was something of a quiet phenomenon. The son of a tram driver, he lived in the same council house on the outskirts of Southampton almost all his life. His only exposure to the arts was musical through piano lessons from an early age so that he became accomplished, making visually beautiful transcriptions and some compositions for his own use.

A King Edward V1 scholarship boy, he made no impression there but qualified as an apprentice draughtsman from Supermarine. Following his two year National Service he went on a coach trip to Europe and fell in love with all things French, particularly Van Gogh. Emigrating to Toronto he took to painting seriously because he 'had no piano and had to do something'.

This is when he became remarkable. He taught himself by reading, observing and studying the modern masters, not copying but using their techniques. Two years later he returned to his parent's home in England a dedicated artist with no prospects. A job at Pirelli Cables on the production side was only a livelihood. After work he regularly painted for several hours. Lunch hours were spent drawing around the city 'a day without drawing is a day wasted' so there is an astonishing historical record of vanished buildings. He made two pilgrimages to Arles, recorded in sketchbooks, only to find his 'inspiration just outside the back door'.

Always a masterly draughtsman with an innate sensitivity, he had to learn to become a painter. For ten years he avidly fed in eclectically until by 1968/9 he was in full flown expressing himself effortlessly.

The exhibition is not a retrospective as such since room has to be left for a follow up from the big collections eg. Southampton City Art Gallery, Winchester CC, Brighton, Cork but the exhibition charts his progress, ranging from the early work to his late masterpieces. It is educational as it explores the history of modern art.

The phenomenon is that, in a mere twelve years, by the time he died he was producing from his own unique vision powerful images which drew attention, not only locally, but from London (RA. & Cork St.) and Paris (La Revue Moderne).
Contents:approx. 60 pictures (paintings & drawings) framed & crated
Space:adaptable (approx 60 running metres)
Hire Fee:500 provisionally
Insurance:Hirer responsible for All risks "nail to nail" cover
Transport:*Hirer responsible for transport
Availability:May 2001
Publicity:Leaflets & Posters (A3) (some free allocation)
SOR:catalogues, postcards, Meadus Sketchbook (facsimile) 'Not a Day Wasted'
Supplementary Material:Folders of reproductions of sketch-books, Watercolours, cartoons to handle
* one-way if booking dates continuous

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