Viola Borradaile; A Sublime Early 20thC Tempera on Canvas Renaissance Style Study of Religious Figures

Origin: English
Period: Early Twentieth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1915-30
Canvas Height: 27 inches
Canvas Width: 19 inches
The Whole: 33 X 25 inches

Painted by Viola Borradaile in tempera on canvas in the medieval Italian rennaisance style, the well sized work depicting four religious figures portrayed with halos to include two putti, an elderly bearded figure and a hooded and cloaked lady figure survives from the first third of the twentieth century.

The picture is apparently unsigned, and is in good and stable condition with no losses, restoration or damage to note aside from one repair, which is visible via a patch to the rear of the canvas. She is rather dirty so would benefit from a clean if so desired. She remains in her original moulded pine frame, in keeping with the period, which is also in the same tired but un-meddled condition and is marked for The Rowley Gallery, Kensington, London.

Mr and Mrs Albert James Rowley, focusing on picture framing, mounting, restoration, carving and gilding, founded the Rowley Gallery in 1898. By the 1920s they were active from their premises at 140-2 Church Street, Kensington and the business moved to their workshop premises at 86 & 87 Campden Street after it was hit by a bomb in 1940 (helping to date this picture) and from that time concentrated mainly on picture framing.  A J Rowley died in 1944 and the business continued under the directorship of Laurence Rowley. We believe this picture was created a short time before the premises moved to Campden Street, purely because of the style, patination and foxing to the work.

The gallery specialised in decorative schemes to include distinctive designs for inlaid pictures and mirrors, screens and furniture. Celebrated artists such as Sir Frank Brangwyn, William Chase, Robert Anning Bell, W J Palmer Jones, Henry Butler, and Horace Mann Livens were amongst those supplying designs, which were executed by Rowley and his team of highly skilled craftsmen. Interest in the Rowley Gallery is always growing with pieces being exhibited at the V&A, Brighton Museum and the William Morris Gallery

Sisters Viola and Rosamund Borradaile were authors of The Strasburg Manuscript - A Medieval Painters Handboks (translated from Old German). Viola herself was also the author of Practical Tempera Painting in 1949 and The Art of Gilding in 1940. The misses Borradaile were outstanding students and practitioners of medieval and renaissance techniques of painting and prime movers in the historic Society of Painters in tempera.

A wonderful testament to both Italian renaissance painting and Viola’s work, the subject of which she devoted her life to creating a picture of gravitas, with exceptional decorative impact.