Mooie pen en inkt tekening van KATHLEEN HALE U.K. met ‘Belgium Refugees’ als onderwerp. 1918
In passepartout, achter glas en gekaderd.

48,5 cm x 42,2 cm
Tijdens en zelfs nog na de eerste wereldoorlog zochten 250.000 Belgen onderkomen in Engeland.
Zeer mooie pentekening, getekend, met vermelding van de dag 28 oktober.


Kathleen Hale (May 24, 1898, Lancashire—January 26, 2000, Bristol) was a British artist, illustrator, and children’s author. She is best remembered for her series of books about Orlando the Marmalade Cat.
Kathleen Hale was born in Broughton, Salford, Lancashire and was brought up in a suburb of Manchester. Her childhood was far from idyllic: her father died when she was very young and she was forced to endure long periods of separation from her mother. This, along with the frustrations of an unexpressed artistic talent, produced a rebellious reaction in the young girl’s naturally ebullient nature. However, her talent as an artist was recognised at school by a sympathetic headmistress at Manchester High School for Girls and she went on to attend art courses in Manchester and at the University College, Reading.
In 1917, Kathleen moved to London to make a life for herself as an artist. She worked for some time as Augustus John’s secretary whilst developing a wide circle of friends in the artistic community, such as Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. During the 1920s she earned a living as an illustrator, accepting commissions for book jackets as well as selling her own drawings.
She married Douglas McClean, a young doctor working in medical research. They settled in Hertfordshire where they could bring up their two young sons and entertain their friends. She created Orlando and his world to entertain her children at bedtime. Orlando The Marmalade Cat ‘with eyes like twin gooseberries’ was one of the classic children’s book characters of the 1940s and 1950s. The stories are known for their quirky wit and extravagant illustrations. They combine adventure with friendship and family life. As the creator of Orlando, Kathleen was awarded the OBE in 1976.
Kathleen Hale died on 26 January 2000 at 101 years of age.

Prijs: 225 euro







The work of Kathleen Hale is full of paradox. It is at once deeply familiar and deeply strange, domestic and exotic, comfortable and disconcerting. Her long life spanned a century, but she never settled into tranquility or repetition. Her most famous creation, Orlando the Marmalade Cat, has brought delight to generations of readers, who relive, in revisiting him, their own childhood, yet Orlando himself contains the unexpected. Even as a small child one must have sensed that the exceptional quality of the Orlando books was produced by an exceptional artistic talent. Here we see that talent revealed in its peculiar diversity.

Kathleen Hale told her own story in her excellent autobiography, A Slender Reputation, published in 1994. The book, like the exhibition, holds many surprises. Unconventional, rebellious, industrious and dashingly improvisatory, Hale was a dedicated, indeed unstoppable worker, never content with labels, and for the most part happily confident of her own powers. A precocious gift was spotted early, and she escaped from Manchester High School, via the Art Department of Reading University College, to explore the London of Chelsea, Fitzrovia and Bloomsbury, to sup on plovers’ eggs at the Cafe Royal and to dance at night clubs, to meet Epstein and Nina Hamnett and Augustus John, to starve in a bedsitter. She scraped a living, in the best Bohemian tradition, by doing illustrations, dust jackets, posters, odd jobs, a few hours of teaching here and there. She charmed all she met, though some she overwhelmed by her excess of energy. And she worked, seriously, at her art – in the ‘twenties she proved herself an excellent draughtswoman, producing drawings on a visit to the French fishing village of Etaples that were much admired by the master draughtsman, John himself.



Her gifts beckoned her in several directions. Drawings, oils, water colours, linocuts, and pictures in metals – all attracted her, and she applied herself to each new technique with the discipline of a craftsman. There was no stopping her. She found new teachers, both formal and informal, learning from Duncan Grant as she learned from the printers in Ipswich who taught her the dauntingly difficult art of lithography. When there was nobody to teach her, she taught herself. An early comment that her work was essentially ‘decorative’ haunted her, but it provoked more than it deterred. At a period when many women played mistress and model rather than artist, she insisted on her right to work, and she worked professionally through love affairs, marriage and motherhood, through peace and through war.

She is best known for the creation of Orlando, and his popularity has distorted our knowledge of her work. If he had not been such a success – and he became famous not through instant recognition of grateful publishers, but because Hale was shrewd and persistent as well as greatly gifted – would she have worked more in other genres? Painting, she admitted, called on more ‘despairs and exultations’, and demanded a deeper level of consciousness than Orlando. On the other hand, Orlando himself obsessed her, and drove her onwards to new heights of invention. One can only speculate as to what might have been, as she herself speculated: she suffered, perhaps, from an embarrassment of riches.



Even her light, playful and fantastic work, however, has at times a sinister tone. At first glance her world seems innocently colourful, but not all in it is harmony. There is often a slight menace in the generous curves of a harmless cow, in the decadent petals of a poppy or an iris, in the frills of a curtain, the branches of a tree. The decorative macabre bent of Arthur Rackham and Aubrey Beardsley is no stranger to her. She is drawn to oddities and curiosities, in nature – cacti, lobster, lichens, flowers distorted, flowers slightly unnatural, plants monstrous, caterpillars in combat. Her portraits of children are not sweet: they are sometimes glum or, in her own word, baleful. The prolific diversity of nature, and her delight in it, are at times alarming.

This sense of danger in the natural world found its way into the beautifully observed landscapes of Orlando, which contain decades of observation of both town and city. We think of Hale primarily as a country dweller, and indeed she and Douglas made their family home for many years at rustic Rabley Willow, near Elstree – a house which promptly burned down almost as soon as they retired to a small cottage. But she also knew London intimately. The vegetable market of Covent Garden, the seaside architecture of Aldburgh and the French hotel room where Hale once stayed with the notorious Bohemian hostess, Viva King, are all woven into the Orlando books.



The drawings of Orlando himself, and of his family, are superb. They remain catlike cats, anatomically correct, with cat gestures and cat characters, yet through them Hale wittily satirises human fashions and follies, including the oddities of some of her fellow artists. (It is no surprise to learn that the first job suggested to her, at the age of twelve, was as political cartoonist on a local newspaper.) Revisiting Orlando as adults we find double meanings, hidden references. How many children would or could have known that the Katnapper in Orlando’s Silver Wedding was modelled upon the bald, handsome and bisexual artist, Arthur Lett-Haines, with whom Kathleen Hale initiated an affair which in her view saved her marriage? Or that Antonia White’s bespectacled second husband, Eric Earnshaw-Smith, was the inspiration for Mr. Cattermole? Were any of us aware of these thrilling and subversive subtexts? I think on one level we must have been. We identified, boys and girls alike, with the naughty tomkitten Tinkle, and condescended to his good sisters Pansy and Blanche, while we admired the ideal father and mother in Orlando and Grace – yet beyond the innocence and safety of this cosy little family we sensed adult excitements, adult possibilities. This was a shifting, enchanted, self-transforming world, a world both adult and childlike and its power over us is as great as it ever was.

Kathleen Hale, in her life, played the brave and dangerous game of trying to balance Reason and Moderation with Magic and Excess. She succeeded triumphantly, and her work glows with the excitement and exhilaration of the challenges she set herself.