Jan Gordon and Steven Spurrier: "The Purest Art. Dazzle."

A copy of "Modern French Painters" (1923) in my library, once in the possession of the artist Steven Spurrier (1873-1961), has the following dedication from Jan Gordon:

"To my old pal Spurrier

       in memory of the purest art we ever touched. Dazzle.
                                                                 Jan Gordon"

This is a wonderfully evocative connection with the story of the dazzle-painted ships of WW1, in which both Jan Gordon and Steven Spurrier were involved. In "The London Roundabout" (1933) Jan Gordon reminisces about those times: "I was in uniform, lieutenant in the R.N.V.R., although I had never been nearer to the quarter-deck than the Royal Academy Schools, which were the headquarters of the Naval Camouflage section, under the well-known marine painter Norman Wilkinson." I wrote about Jan Gordon's involvement with the design of dazzle patterns in February 2013 and March 2014.

The book is also a resonant one for me because of the connection with my grandparents, to whom the volume is dedicated: “I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the two friends whose names appear on the dedicatory page. They patiently listened to the progress of the work chapter by chapter; if they deemed any phrase too recondite or too technical it was struck out and simplified.”

Dedication in "Modern French Painters" (1923)


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