Curwen Eliot Hodgkin was born on 19 June 1905, in Purley Lodge, near Pangbourne, Berkshire. He was educated at Harrow School from 1919 to 1923.
Eliot Hodgkin , artistic life started in London at the Byam Shaw School of Art and at the Royal Academy Schools under Francis Ernest Jackson.
By the middle of the 1930s Hodgkin had established himself as a painter of still lifes, landscapes and murals, exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy. His first one-man exhibition was in London at Picture Hire Ltd. in 1936. Shortly afterwards he began working in egg tempera.
Eliot was also a writer. His books include: She Closed the Door (1931), Fashion Drawing (1932), 55 Views of London (1948), A Pictorial Gospel (1949).
During the last years of his life Eliot suffered from a crippling diseased, described as an ataxia of unknown origin. Eliot died on 30 May 1987 at the age of 81 and is buried at St John’s Notting Hill.
Eliot Hodgkin provided a brief description of his interest in still life painting in 1957, in response to an enquiry from the editors of The Studio: “In so far as I have any conscious purpose, it is to show the beauty of natural objects which are normally thought uninteresting or even unattractive: such things as Brussels sprouts, turnips, onions, pebbles and flints, bulbs, dead leaves, bleached vertebrae, an old boot cast up by the tide. People sometimes tell me that they had never really ‘seen’ something before I painted it, and I should like to believe this… For myself, if I must put it into words, I try to look at quite simple things as though I were seeing them for the first time and as though no one had ever painted them before.”
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