Percy Wyndham Lewis

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Lewis’s house (1st house) on Palace Gardens Terrace
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Details

Name:Percy Wyndham Lewis

Dates:1882 - 1957

Profession:Art

Address: 61 Palace Gardens Terrace, W8

Dates at address:1923 - 1926

Biography

Lewis was born on his father’s yacht off Nova Scotia, Canada and moved to England after his parents divorced in 1893. Schooled at Slade School of Art he developed skill as both a painter and a writer. Full of energy and passion, he often lacked direction. He married artist Gladys Hoskyns in 1930.

In Paris in 1907 he began painting under Augustus John but continued to write short stories, later published by Madox Ford’s English Review in 1910. His art was highly experimental, influenced by cubism, futurism and expressionism. He moved from the Campden Town Group to Roger Fry’s Omega workshops then his own Rebel Art Centre. With Ezra Pound he created Vorticism, publishing Blast magazine together, but rejected it after the war. His final more traditional style has been described as painting with “a mailed fist in a cotton glove.” He also wrote satires, including Tarr, Childermass and The Apes of God.

Living in Kensington from 1919 to 1939 Lewis moved several times. His studios were so run down that they were “haunted by pallid hens” and overrun by mice. He also entertained the paranoid delusion that Roger Fry and Clive Bell would sit on his roof to “spy on him”. Pro-Fascist sympathies and a book praising Hitler forced Lewis to leave for Canada in 1939. He returned after the war to concentrate on his autobiographies after going blind in 1951, finally leaving in 1957.

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