We are delighted to present ‘In The Library’, a brand new collection by Lillian Delevoryas which we unveiled at Engineer’s House, Clifton Promenade, Bristol on the weekend of 5-6 August 2017.

“These are the best ever art sales I’ve had in such a short space of time. I can’t thank you enough for the marvellous, professional job you did in making this happen.” Lillian Delevoryas, August 2017

In The Library is a collection of 29 pieces of original work by artist Lillian Delevoryas.

In 2012 Lillian Delevoryas underwent surgery for a shoulder replacement on her right arm. Although the operation was a success from a medical point of view, as a result, Lillian lost the ability in her ‘painting hand’ to execute the finer movements required when using a paintbrush.

She tried different alternatives – including an iPad, which served her well in capturing ideas and composing with a greater degree of freedom. But it still wasn’t able to give her hand the ability to use a paint brush in the time-honoured fashion.

To meet this challenge, Lillian found she could convert from iPad to oil paint by using varied, less demanding techniques that she could still manage: impasto; with palette knife; collage and printing.

Gradually new approaches developed, resulting as the ‘In the Library’ collection.

‘In The Library’ originated with a few small sketches Lillian had created on her iPad which she showed in her Open Studios for the West Bristol Arts Trail that same year. The response to these two small studies was so enthusiastic that she decided to follow them up with a series – using some of the new techniques she was exploring.

Each work began with a unifying factor, in this case, the library shelves, which were achieved by using impasto (thickly applied paint), onto which she created the books using a sgraffitto technique (scratching away at the surface).  She used this black and white as the ground to which she added figures or flowers.

Lillian’s use of collage stemmed from her days of working in fabric applique, the medium which brought her to England in 1970, when she created sumptuous garments and hangings for pop stars and the rich and famous. After painting for several years, she went into the field of designing high fashion clothes and wall hangings. For the next seven years she worked in this medium. Her wedding garment designed in 1972, was exhibited in the V&A ‘Here Come the Brides’ exhibition which ran from 2012 – 2014. After the exhibition, Lillian donated the garment to the permanent collection of the V&A.

‘In The Library’ is a direct link to that period. Fabrics have always inspired her, and in this collection, a piece of black and white African material served as the basis for the series, and in fact kick started it. Her favourite model Melahat came back from Scotland with a tartan plaid shawl, which found its way into several of the paintings. To create these, Lillian photographed the shawl, printed the results and then collaged them onto the surface of each panting. Then she would adapt the patterns to suit the surrounding areas, touching up and altering the colour where necessary.

So what began as an impediment, turned into a challenge of finding a completely new way of working, inspired by her beloved master Matisse, whose last cut outs show a remarkable vitality which belies the age of the artist.