Artwork Library

Reeves the Tramp

Reeves the Tramp

Location: Ditchling, Sussex, United Kingdom

Subject: Portrait

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1930s

Signature: Knighton-Hammond

Dimensions: 76 cm x 57 cm

This striking watercolour portrait of Reeves the Tramp was executed with a very limited colour palette. Reeves was a character who was known to Knighton-Hammond when he was living in Ditchling and featured in a number of works. The artist was renowned for his ability to capture the inner mood and personality of his sitter, who he always painted from life.

The light is coming from the spectator’s left and the head is modelled on the light side with very few linear brushstrokes. This is an example of where skilful artists can convey a sense of volume through line alone. The greater amount of work is on the shadow side. The right hand is skilfully rendered showing the strength and ruggedness of the sitter.

The background would have been boldly carried out at speed yet the sitter appears to be projected forward into the space of the spectator.

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