The drawing in pencil is titled ‘Mary Butts in Paris 1929.’ It is signed, inscribed and dated in pencil by the artist. The drawing has been exhibited at a number of shows including ‘Arthur Lett Haines’ at the Redfern Gallery, London March-April 1984, No.7 and ‘Nina Hamnett and her circle’ at the Michael Parkin Gallery, London October 15-November 5 1986 No.66. The drawing was purchased by Seward Kennedy.
Size 285 x 215mm.x
During the early 1920s Mary Butts was mostly in Paris, where she became friends there with several writers and artists, including the painter Cedric Morris (a friend of her brother) and the artist, poet, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau, who illustrated her book, Imaginary Letters (1928). In mid-1921 she and Maitland spent about twelve weeks at Aleister Crowley’s Abbey of Thelema in Sicily; she found the practices there shocking, and came away with a drug habit. In 1922 and 1923 she and Maitland spent periods near Tyneham, Dorset, and her novels of the 1920s make much of the Dorset landscape. In 1923 her book of stories, Speed the Plough and other stories was published; which was followed in 1925 by her first novel, Ashe of Rings (published by Robert McAlmon). Ashe of Rings is an anti-war novel with supernatural elements.
In 1927, she and Rodker were divorced. In 1928, Butts published’Armed With Madness’ a novel featuring experimental Modernist writing revolving around the Grail legend. In 1930, she married the homosexual artist, William Park “Gabriel” Atkin or Aitken (1897–1937) (Mary then styled herself Mrs Aitken, but retained her maiden name for her writings). After a time in London and Newcastle, they settled in 1932 at Sennen on the Penwith peninsula on the western tip of Cornwall, but by 1934 the marriage had failed
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