An artist commissioned by Evelyn Waugh to paint a work entitled The Pleasures of Travel 1951 is about to receive new critical attention. Thus is Richard Eurich who painted the work for Waugh to accompany two Victorian works with a similar ironic theme. Copies of all three paintings appear in the collection Evelyn Waugh and His World (1973).
As explained in a recent Country Life article, Eurich made his name with his paintings of the evacuation of Dunkirk and other WWII subjects. His early career and education are also described:
Richard Ernst Eurich was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, the son of a distinguished bacteriologist, himself a second or third generation Bradfordian. […]
As a teenager, his precocity gained him an introduction to the Horton-Fawkes family, descendants of Turner’s patron Walter Fawkes, and he used to bicycle north to their home, Farnley Hall, to look at their collection of the master’s work. Eurich recorded some years later that ‘Turner has always been my very own particular god’.
Another early influence was the […] work by the avant-garde Yugoslav sculptor Ivan Mestrovic. Eurich attended Bradford College of Arts and Crafts from 1920 to 1924, before winning an exhibition to the Slade. By this time, he had added Cézanne to his pantheon of heroes, provoking Prof Tonks to comment in one of his reports: ‘This student is being influenced by painters who have not been dead long enough to be respectable.’
In London, he met Sir Edward Marsh, Sir Winston Churchill’s private secretary and a generous patron of young artists. Apart from purchasing pictures, Marsh introduced him to the work of Christopher Wood, whose influence is clearly evident in Eurich’s 1932 self-portrait, Green Shirt, with its uncompromisingly direct vision and bold brushstrokes, as well as in the simplified handling of its maritime background.
After a description of Eurich’s WWII paintings, the article briefly mentions his postwar works, of which:
…none is more strange than The Pleasures of Travel 1951, commissioned by Evelyn Waugh as a companion piece to two satirical works that he already owned — The Pleasures of Travel 1751 and The Pleasures of Travel 1851 — by the Victorian artist Robert Musgrave Joy. The former depicts a stage coach being held up by highwaymen; the latter passengers in a crowded railway carriage being told their journey was seriously delayed. Eurich’s take was air travellers panicking as one of the aeroplane’s engines catches fire.
The exhibition in London is intended to celebrate the publication of a book on Eurich’s work. This entitled The Art of Richard Eurich by Andrew Lambirth and is published this month by Lund Humphries (£40). Waugh’s painting as well as several others are also nicely illustrated in the Country Life article. Information about the exhibition, that will extend for two weeks from 21 September-3 October 2020 at Waterhouse & Dodd, Savile Row, is available here. Whether Waugh’s painting will displayed in the exhibition is not stated.