Welch, Denton (1915 - 1948)
Life Study; a self portrait with idealised figure. Pencil. 1937. Signed. Inscribed verso by Gerald Leet; 'Overleaf - Drawing by Denton Hadlow Road Summer 1937'. Provenance: Gerald Leete (1913-1998). 15x10.5 inches.


Welch moved to Hadlow Road in Tonbridge following the bicycle accident that cut short his student years at Goldsmiths. His time at Hadlow Road saw him turning inwards and exploring his own identity; he became the natural subject of his artistic research and a number of self-portraits, including the oil painting at the National Portrait Gallery, date from this time. Gerald Leet was a regular visitor to Hadlow Road, in 1937 visiting Welch and transforming the flat into a studio in which many photographs were taken of the pair of them. Both this and another life drawing that belonged to Leet (private collection) have a likeness to Welch, the present drawing suggesting an idealised idea of the male body following his devastating accident. Through his life, and particularly while he was struggling to keep solvent, Denton never chose to offer up self-portraits for sale in exhibitions and it is likely that these drawings were held back by Welch and Leet as being more personal works.

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