Oil on board, 1953
Kate Chapman (née Ablett) (1926 – 2002), met her husband, the artist George Chapman (1908 -1993), whilst she was a student at the Norwich School of Art in 1946. The following year they were married and her work as an artist took second place to raising their three children and supporting her husband’s career. As well as portraits of her children, Kate Chapman painted still lifes and a number of landscapes. In 1951, they moved to Vine Cottage, outside Great Bardfield, where they became part of the circle of artists that lived there and participated in the various ‘open house’ exhibitions. Kate Chapman had a long-standing interest in antiques and owned an antique shop in Aberaeron, a town south of Aberystwyth, on the Welsh coast. Many items from the shop found their way into her paintings. She died in 2002, nearly 10 years after her husband.
‘The Thatcher’ was restored recently by Radek Chocha. He comments: ” ‘The Thatcher’ by Kate Chapman is one of my favourite paintings at the collection of The Fry and I am particularly drawn to its artistic simplicity and joyfulness showing the harmonious relationship between humans and nature. It is a celebration of English countryside life and I love how the birds are involved with the thatcher’s activity and supervise his work. It was a privilege to treat this picture, which involved a gentle clean and addressing the mould spores on the surface.”