Michael Andrews is usually linked to the so-called School of London, a group which included Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon and shared a preoccupation with painting the human figure in order to investigate ‘the nature of being’. Study of a Head for a Group of Figures No.10 is one of two preparatory studies in the Arts Council Collection for the large group portrait, The Lord Mayor’s Reception in Norwich Castle Keep on the Eve of the Installation of the First Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (1966–69). Commissioned in 1965 by the Castle Museum in Norwich, Andrews proposed painting the civic reception for Lord Franks, the University Chancellor, rather than the formal portrait first mooted. Andrews usually resisted painting official portraits, but his suggested format allowed him to indulge his fascination with parties and social interactions, specifically here in the context of the Norfolk society into which he was born. To create the large painting, over two metres high and wide, he worked from photographs of the event, composing a detailed collage of the party in the castle’s magnificent Norman keep. He then used a method, devised by artist Nigel Henderson (1917–85), to project and print the collage onto linen, which was stuck to the canvas and painted over. The picture took three years to complete, in part because of the deaths of both of the artist’s parents during this period.
- Artwork Details: 31.6 x 16.5cm
- Material description: oil on board
- Credit line: © The Estate of the Artist, Courtesy of James Hyman Gallery
- Theme: Portrait
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: AC 1552