Artwork of the Month - August 2011
Miss Georgina Wakely
Artist: Mervyn Peake
Medium: Oil and pastel on canvas
Status: Private collection
Item No.: -
About the Work
This portrait by Mervyn Peake of Mrs Georgina May Guille (née Wakely) as a young girl is still owned by the sitter and has been kindly loaned to the Museum as this month's Artwork of the Month.
It was painted in September 1946 when Mervyn Peake had just arrived on the island of Sark with his family. Mrs Guille, who was born and has spent all her life on Sark, remembers both Mervyn Peake and his wife Maeve fondly. Mrs Guille commented on how the Peakes were seen as very much part of this closely knit community, where everyone looked out for each other.
Although it was a small community they had accepted a progressive and bohemian group of artists to the Island over 10 years before. Mervyn Peake was one of these artists, who called themselves the Sark Group.
The artists help build their own art gallery, and Mrs Guille remembers it also being used for dances as well as exhibitions. This multi-usage must have gone some way to encouraging the local population to accept these outsiders and would have presented an ideal opportunity for the Group to mix and meet with the local Sarkese.
Sebastian and Fabian, Mervyn Peake's sons, and Clare the Peake's youngest child, who was born on Sark, still have a place in their hearts for this small island. Sebastian returned to Sark this year as part of the centenary celebrations of Mervyn Peake's birth. While on the Island Sebastian met Mrs Guille and enjoyed sharing childhood memories and talking of the 'good old days'.