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Walton, Cecile (British, b.1891, d.1956)
The Wreath Bearer
watercolour
725 x 545 mm sight size
10-1912
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 1912 with funds from the Otago Art Society.
Cecile Walton was 20 when she painted The Wreath Bearer. It shows her interest in the work of such French Symbolist painters as Gustave Moreau and Odilon Redon as well as the English Pre-Raphaelite artists. The work was first exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh in 1911, the same year that T C and E C Jack’s edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales, with her illustrations, was published.
Walton was something of a child prodigy. The daughter of E A Walton, who was a leading member of the Scottish Impressionist school, the Glasgow Boys, she spent her childhood in Chelsea, at the heart of London’s bohemian art world. Her family were close neighbours of James McNeill Whistler, who asked his talented young friend to draw him.
Soon after painting The Wreath Bearer, Walton, who by then was living in Scotland, joined the Edinburgh Group, an association of avant garde artists whose most dynamic member was her future husband, Eric Robertson.

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