Friday August 11 2017

Every month, a member of staff from the Britten-Pears Foundation choose their favourite item or object from the collections. This month Head of Finance Keith Nicholls selects the painting Footballers by Diana Cumming. He says:

‘This large painting was purchased by Peter Pears in 1954 and it was created for the previous year’s “Football and the Fine Arts” exhibition held in London by the Football Association (FA) and Arts Council to celebrate its 90th anniversary. It currently hangs in our exhibition at the end of the corridor leading to the library and is the first painting I see when exiting the office into the exhibition.

Footballers © Diana Cumming

Footballers clearly shows its era with huge leather football and enormous boots! It also suggests the physical challenges in the game at that time (not so today!). The whole atmosphere of the match is captured by the faces of the crowd, experiencing all emotions from excitement and joy to anguish and fear. The open mouths of the crowd create the ‘singing’ atmosphere of a big match. To add to the interest the artist has also included herself in the crowd. A woman at a football match in the 1950’s would have been a rare spectacle, especially one with red hair! Diana Cumming was clearly ahead of her time.

There are six other works by Diana Cumming in the collection; Geraniums and Bay Tree; Merry-Go-Round; Miss Greek; Nativity scene with Children; Portrait of Peter Pears; and The Parrot.’