The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

November 17, 2016

November 17, 1919

Our Colin Hayes (November 17, 1919 to November 1, 2003) was a painter and not to be confused with the Australian horse trainer (1924 - 1999) of that name. His Guardian obituary stresses his success as an artist.

Hayes was born in London, where his father Gerald was a musicologist and mathematician, and his mother Winifred a painter and sculptor. He was educated at Westminster school, and read history at Christ Church, Oxford.

His studies were interrupted by the second world war and, as a volunteer, he was commissioned in 1940, serving in the war survey section of the Royal Engineers. He was sent to Iceland and north Africa, where he was wounded in the Western desert. He returned home in 1943 as a captain in the survey directorate, south-eastern command, during the invasion period, and was invalided out of the army in 1945...

Hayes exhibited regularly from after the war until the end of his life. He became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1963 and a full member in 1970. His close friend and fellow RA Bernard Dunston describes how his painting flourished with regular visits to Euboea (Evvia), in Greece, where "his sense of colour was developed towards a landscape style of disciplined richness, using comparatively flat areas of saturated colour, though always firmly based on the subjects he loved".

Hayes's work is held in numerous collections, including that of the Arts Council of Great Britain, the British Council and Carlisle Art Gallery. His publications include books on Stanley Spencer, Renoir, Rembrandt and A Grammar Of Drawing. ....

Hayes's first wife Jean, whom he married in 1949, died in 1988. He is survived by his second wife Marjorie, whom he married in 1992, and the three daughters of his first marriage.

[Colin Hayes is said to have been influential also in art education]: he brought about changes of attitude through his insistence on nurturing creativity, while emphasizing the importance of draughtsmanship. [This is an aspect of his support for].... the initiative by Romeo Di Girolamo, the current president, trustee and former head of the school of art, [The Royal College of Art] to re-establish the importance of the formal elements in art education, a venture begun under Hayes's presidency with the launch of a figurative fine art degree course at Northbrook College, Sussex.

Among the students Colin Hayes had, was David Hockney.

We also learn  in his obit that Hayes had been"... invited to join the staff of the Royal College of Art in 1949, and taught there, alongside such notable painters as ... Ruskin Spear ...."

I mention this last detail because there is a painting Hayes did, which I cannot reproduce here. It is titled: "Ruskin Spear's cat," and dated 1989. I suspect an element of humor on Hayes' part. Although Hayes may have only painted that one cat, Ruskin Spear painted lots of pictures of cats himself.

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