The Paintings of Ivor John Powell

The vision of a border Welshman

Kitchen Scene by Ivor Powell

65. Kitchen Scene

25.5 x 31.8cm. Daler Board with re-used frame

NLW(PG 5876)

Ivor dated this composition 1981, so this is likely to have been his last painting. Like his Cwmyoy Church, there is both hope and sadness here. There is no other painting like this one, in either subject matter or execution, in all his remaining work. It is an imagined narrative, not based on any of the houses in which he lived in his maturity. If there is some basis in reality, it must refer back to a room he knew in his youth. Its dimensions suggest a farm rather than a cottage. The collection of china in the cupboard indicates a place of some substance, as does the painting over the fireplace and the free-standing basket grate. It seems likely this scene was intended as the interior of one of the farms in his later landscapes. The painting of cows, above the fireplace, seems to serve as a quotation from Horses Ploughing. The dog at the table is also the dog in the foreground of this same picture. This suggests that this kitchen scene was intended to form part of the world he had created in these landscapes. This is a living and thriving household of young occupants, in a community which functions and is likely to endure, but, as in other paintings of Ivor's, there are features of this composition which suggest it was intended to be more than a happy domestic scene. The figures seem to be sitting at table with expectations of a normal meal, but what they have before them are plates flattened into two dimensional surfaces. The grid-like floor tiles reinforce the two-dimensional character of the painting. Ivor was likely to have seen medieval or early Renaissance treatments of the subject of the Last Supper, in which items on the table are shown in the same two-dimensional fashion, so this may have been his way of alluding to the theme of a meal which marks someone's passing. He had composed his versions of a secure world but he knew that it was a world he could not avoid having to leave. Ivor was confident that the vital world he had celebrated in his paintings had the means to endure but, in his possible allusion to the Last Supper, he also acknowledged his own passing, his own departure from the world which he had helped to support and tried to make visible.

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