Diana Armfield: A Lyrical Eye
Diana Armfield RA Hon RWS NEAC has a highly personal attachment to subject and a subtly distinctive affinity with the rhythms of form and tone. These qualities make her an important, influential figure in modern British art – and a very popular one. Flower paintings have brought her wide acclaim, but this book – created to mark her 100th birthday – also richly represents Diana’s feeling for landscape and place. Including an inspiring number of more recent works, it brings her fascinating artistic and life story up to date.
‘I think I was born making things’, Diana comments to Andrew Lambirth, whose absorbing interview with her forms the narrative thread of Diana Armfield: A Lyrical Eye. Diana’s was a creative childhood steeped in experiments with drawing, pottery and embroidery, played out against the backdrop of a picture-filled house, a lovely garden and an artistic family. She studied at Bournemouth, Slade and Central art schools, starting out as a talented textile designer – a legacy that lent her a unique approach to the geometry, cadences and colour qualities of a painting. After organising cultural
activities for workers and troops in World War II, Diana became one half of a successful partnership designing textiles and wallpaper, whose work featured in the Festival of Britain in 1951. The 1960s brought a turn to painting and from 1966 Diana has been a regular exhibitor at the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. She has continued to paint and draw throughout her life and, as this book clearly demonstrates, always thinks afresh about each subject she tackles in order to respond to it with a close, warm sincerity.
Diana Armfield: A Lyrical Eye charts Diana’s personal and artistic journey with over 200 beautiful reproductions of her work, tracing favourite subjects and events – from a Welsh landscape to an informal fl ower display or the much-loved location of a painting trip in Italy or France. Andrew Lambirth’s interview also explores the unique bond with her husband, painter Bernard Dunstan, who died in 2017, looking at how two leading artists interwove their personal and creative lives over a marriage of almost 70 years. As well as this interview, Andrew has contributed an essay on Diana’s work to the book.
Diana’s standing and popularity have led to regular exhibitions, especially at prominent London gallery Browse & Darby. Her work is held in private and public collections worldwide, from London’s V&A to the Yale Center for British Art.
By Andrew Lambirth
Hardback, 225 x 275 mm
224 pages, 200 illustrations
About the author
Andrew Lambirth is a noted art writer, critic and curator. Art critic for the Spectator between 2002 and 2014, he has also written for publications such as the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Art Newspaper and RA Magazine. His numerous book subjects range from Maggi Hambling, John Hoyland and L. S. Lowry to John Nash and Richard Eurich.
In the press
"Armfield's work is well served by this generous testimonial to her art." –The Jackdaw
"Beautiful new book ... a treat for the senses." –Leisure Painter