Primavera in Africa

Primavera in Africa, 1946
Helen Dorothy Kiddall (1888-1980)
Oil on board
BORGM 01191
© Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

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Primavera in Africa

The painting’s title Primavera is Italian for ‘spring’. Little is known about the sitter. We do know that the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1946. The painting was bequeathed to the museum in 1969.

Born in Lincolnshire, Kiddall won a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy Schools from 1912. However, her studies were interrupted by the First World War but she resumed these in 1919, working under many Royal Academicians including John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) and William Orpen (1878-1931). She went on to show her paintings at the annual Royal Academy exhibitions. It would have been a considerable achievement for a woman to study at the Royal Academy Schools in this period. It was not until 1936 that the first woman, Laura Knight, was elected to full membership of the Royal Academy, since its foundation. Kiddall was elected an Associate Member of the Society of Women Artists in 1935.

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