The work of Eliot Hodgkin is new to me, and not something I would necessarily have found. However, a weekend away at Waddesdon Manor and a wine tasting event to coincide with the exhibition have shown me how still life painting can have magical qualities in the right hands. Hodgkin worked in tempera on board. Tempera is made using pigment traditionally mixed with egg yolk. Although tempera can be bought ready-made, Hodgkin experimented with making his own. Tempera dries very quickly, so is applied in thin layers using a cross hatching technique. When a varnish is applied to the finished work the colours will take on a richer tone. Without varnish the paint will be a flat matte finish.
Hodgkin’s work was a revelation in the detail and luminosity he created on the chinaware he painted, and the fruits and vegetables have a remarkable depth. He creates an almost 3D effect on his work. The gallery space is beautifully lit and as we are the only guests, we are able to spend a lot of time with the work.
Visiting Waddesdon Manor the following day I spot a couple of interesting ceramic pieces that are of interest.