Charles Sykes, Memorial Exhibition at Walker's Art Galleries, November 1952, no. 2
Sykes studied art at Rutherford College in Newcastle before attending the Royal College of Art in London, where he studied every branch of arts and crafts, leading to a career illustrating, sculpting, printmaking, drawing and painting. An early patron was Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, who in 1911 commissioned him to design the famous ‘Spirit of Ecstasy' mascot for Rolls-Royce. Many fountains, trophies, medals and memorials followed. After the First World War, he worked as a commercial illustrator under the pseudonym ‘Rilette’, designing covers for Woman magazine, advertisements for De Reszke cigarettes, Ensign Cameras, Electrolux, Evan Williams shampoo and railway posters for the L.N.E.R. When he was 65, the Second World War broke out and he left London for Drayton, near Abingdon now in Oxfordshire, where he devoted himself to painting. It was here that he painted this picture.
In 1951, the year after the artist’s death, a memorial exhibition of Sykes’s work, including over one hundred bronzes, drawings, watercolours, pastels and oil paintings, was held at the Walker Galleries in London. The Bradford Observer wrote that 'His paintings are tender atmospheric things’ (21 November 1951), which this one certainly bears out.