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Broken Egg Shell by David Tindle (1954)

David Tindle, a retrospective at Baker Mamonova

HOT’s Judy Parkinson visited the Baker Mamonova Gallery to ask curator Russell Baker about the new exhibition reflecting on the work of David Tindle.

Russell Baker is a fan, friend and collector of David Tindle. Baker was already familiar with his work when he came across the man himself looking through the window of his gallery in 2010.

“I invited him in,” recalls Baker. “And when he said his name, I knew who he was. I visited his place in West Hill Road. He was quite solitary and frugal. Inside was a simple set-up which he painted quite often. He had a bed, small kitchen, with a small cooker on which he made simple food, and he would look out on the great views of the sea.”

David Tindle was born in Huddersfield in 1932 and currently lives in a small village in Italy. He is a painter, printmaker and teacher. He had a tough upbringing, untroubled with a formal education. “He was fascinated by art,” Baker said. “He would go to the library aged 10 and pore over art books. He was 14 when he started working with design studios in Coventry. He studied at the Coventry School of Art and later taught at the Royal College of Art.

In London he worked with Edward Delaney the set designer. He became an important set designer himself, learning a lot about making large-scale canvas backdrops. He was a great painter of things around him. He would look at everything, make sketches then work them up as larger paintings.”

Self Portrait 2007 by David Tindle

Good times in London

Tindle is an important artist, perhaps not as big a name as some of his friends, John Minton, Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon and Keith Vaughan, but equally significant. He remembers good times in the early 1950s when he came to London aged 19.

“When he had his first show, John Minton came along and bought one of his portraits,” Baker explained. “And that was the beginning of a great friendship. Minton knew everyone; Freud, Bacon and Vaughan, who in turn became Tindle’s confidants and influencers.

Tindle never indulged in the well documented gambling and drinking exploits of some of his peers. He loves telling stories about Soho and how he used to rescue Minton after Bacon would bully him. Tindle loved Minton’s work – they were similar. He loved portraiture and John Minton was a great painter.”

As well as portraits, Tindle paints what he sees, familiar views and objects, and he imbues a tranquil, ethereal quality to his subjects with a sense of time – afternoon light, liminal colours, changing seasons. In Florence Tindle was inspired to use egg tempera after viewing the early 15th century frescoes by Masaccio. This is a time-consuming process of building up the image with thin layers of paint.

He is renowned for the muted tones of his delicate egg tempera still lifes, roomscapes and landscapes, often glimpsed through open doors and windows, blends of interior and exterior, still life and the wider view. His works reflect the passage of time, the distillation of a moment, gone all too soon.

Portrait of Whisper-Cueda by David Tindle

In 1954 he held his first solo show in The Piccadilly Gallery and contributed to a mixed show at the Royal Academy. He taught at Hornsey College of Art and Byam Shaw School of Art from 1959 to 1974 and in 1972 was appointed visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art, where he remained until 1983. He became Ruskin Master of Drawing at Oxford University from 1985 to 1987.

Throughout his career he has contributed to numerous prestigious galleries throughout Europe, and among many accolades he is a Fellow of St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and became a Royal Academician in 1979 and a Fellow of the Royal College of Art in 1981.

David Tindle RA – A Retrospective: Baker Mamonova Gallery, Kino Teatr, 43-49 Norman Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 0EG. 28 October – 28 January 2024. Open Wednesdays to Saturdays 1200-22.30, Sundays 11.30-1600.


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Posted 19:55 Wednesday, Nov 8, 2023 In: Arts News

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