Lancaster, Lilian by Scholes, Robert

Lilian Lancaster A figure and flower painter, she studied at the Westminster School of Art and at the Slade, and taught at the Brighton and Eastbourne Art Schools. She exhibited her work mainly in London from 1911 to 1939. She was probably a student of . We know that she married another artist, Alfred Clive Gardiner (1881-1960), but we are still seeking more information about her and images of her work. Her work received serious critical attention from Anthony Ludovici in for December 12, 1912 . Here are his remarks on Lancaster’s work: Walter Sickert’s The New Age (NA 12.6:135) I do not mean to imply that, apart from her inordinate capacity flor taking pains, Miss Lilian Lancaster’s work at the Dore Galleries, is negligible; but her honesty and seriousness certainly led me from the start to look more deeply into her pictures than I should otherwise have been tempted to do. I understand that Miss Lancaster has been, or still is, a pupil of Mr. Sickert. In any case, although she shows all the virtues of thorough and sound training. she is very far from having found herself. She is still in the throes of a contest both with nature and with her technique, or means of expression. Had I been Mr. Sickert, I sbould have advised her to bide her time, to work for yet a while longer, before making so important an appeal to the public. But ,is it the fashion to dlo this? Is one even thanked for doing it? If Mr. Sickert had given her this advice he would scarcely have been “ dans le mouvement,” nor would Miss Lancaster have been up-to-date had she followed it. There is a rawness about these pictures at the Dore Galleries which I am certain is much less the result of Miss Lancaster’s own peculiar gifts than of her present incomplete mastery of her means and of nature. Brutal truth to reality in a beginner, however, is not only excuseable, it is necessary. It is even a promising sign to-day ; for now most beginners artfully evade a hand-to-hand struggle with nature, by premature flights of their fancy into the fantastic and the weird. There is nothing of the fantastic, weird or romantic in Miss Lancaster’s work. She is standing on earth ; s,he is conscientiously probing the problem of beauty in her surroundings. I contend, however, that the result for the present is not artistic beauty. Wonderfully able as “ A Blonde ” (No. 12) undoubtedly is, sound and faithful as are “Moi-meme” (NO. IS), “Barbara in Yellow” (No. z), “The Japanese Screen” (No. 16 and “Gold and Blue” No 7), I have the feeling that in all these pictures Miss Lancaster is exhibiting more virtuosity than taste, .more good schooling- than discrimination. And I say this in no carping spirit; for let me remind the artist that her earnestness both captivated and infected me, and I am doing my utmost to give her an earnest criticism. It is when you turn from “Embroidress” (No. 10) to a “Painting from the Antique” (No. 13)–a telltale juxtaposition, by-the-bye!–that you realise on the one hand wherein Miss Lancaster is incomplete, subservient and still diffident, and on the other wherein she is mistress, unhesitating and brilliant. No. 10 is a disorderly jumble, pretentious in its composition, deceptive through its complexity, and almost pre- Raphaelite in its humble prostration before insiignificant and disturbing detail. .No. 14, on the contrary, is orderly, it is modest, tasteful and straightforward ; but then half its beauty is borrowed beauty, almost all its charm comes from the inspired mastery of the ancient sculptor. Nevertheless, the borrowed beauty is splendidly rendered.

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