Hampstead Fine Arts is proud to present “Ancient Egypt” by Charles Newington, who was born in 1950 in his native England. Most famously known for the giant White Horse Hill Figure above the Channel Tunnel entrance, his work has been exhibited worldwide since his first solo show at the Newburgh Street Gallery in London in 1989. He studied at the Byam Shaw, Camberwell and the Central Schools of Art, going on to become a lecturer there and many other schools in England, specialising in etching. He ran the etching studio of Editions Alecto in the 1970’s working with many well known contemporary artists, in particular Patrick Proctor, who taught him how to use water colour in Venice. His career has taken him down many different paths, founding Alecto Historical editions, restoring and printing from copper plates for the Tate Gallery and the Society of Antiquaries, creating artwork for rock bands including Led Zepellin, E.L.P. and The Kinks.
He is currently travelling the world and working on a series of work inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. “Ancient Egypt” was painted in 1986, using watercolours. It is a splendid, swirling snapshot of that bustling city, with a busy crowd navigating their way through the winding streets and market roads of a busy town centre. The viewer gets the impression that this is an image of a bygone era, due to the lack of modern amenities and features that one would normally see in a crowded urban area. Newington’s signature style is clearly visible in his depiction of the populace, and one takes away the impression that although there is a lot of activity, not all of it is happy. The people have neutral facial expressions, and the slightly melancholy colours used gives a feeling of drabness and inner-city decay. Additionally, there is the added mystery of the ancient Egyptian mythological figure, or statue, appearing towards the left of the painting, whether as a living entity or sculpture, we shall never know. This painting has generated a lot of interest from Middle Eastern collectors, and our selectors were quick to choose it, so that our customers may have a chance to own this iconic masterpiece.