Gerald Kelly

Apr 9, 1879 - Jan 5, 1972

Sir Gerald Festus Kelly PRA was a British painter best known for his portraits.
Gerald Kelly was born in London, educated at Eton College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and later lived and studied art in Paris. James McNeill Whistler was an early influence. Kelly travelled much, visiting Spain, America, South Africa, and Burma, which inspired a series of paintings of Burmese dancers.
In 1920 he married Lilian Ryan, who became his model for a celebrated series of portraits. These were exhibited under the title Jane, followed by a Roman numeral that corresponded to the year of exhibition. Other sitters included T. S. Eliot, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Somerset Maugham, whom he painted 18 times.
Maugham, a lifelong friend of Kelly, wrote an introduction to a catalogue of an exhibition of Kelly's work. Maugham regularly portrayed Kelly in his works, as Lionel Hillier in Cakes and Ale, as Frederick Lawson in Of Human Bondage and as O'Malley in His Excellency presenting him as "the young Irish painter called O'Malley", and dedicating Ashenden to him.
He became a favourite painter of the Royal Family.
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