Ironside, Robin - The Somnambulist
Type of Spiritual Experience
To execute his immensely detailed paintings, Robin often used a magnifying glass, and it is almost possible to see the very weave of his painted silk drapes, the skeletons of leaves,or the tiniest veins on a hand on one of his haunted figures. His favourite painters were Duncan Grant, Roger Fry, Matthew Smith, Stanley Spencer, David Jones, Edward Burra, Henry Moore, Samuel Palmer, and James Ward, and he was greatly influenced by John Piper, John Martin and perhaps Fuseli, classical sculpture and early Greek painters like Apelles, Polygnotus and Zeuxis.
A description of the experience
“Of course I enormously regretted his leaving the Tate. Did you hear of the first time I saw his painting? He’d often said to me that he painted and I had always thought rather vaguely, oh, he’s probably one those intellectuals who thinks he can paint but of course I was astonished when I saw these beautiful paintings, I was amazed at the beauty of them. As soon as I saw them I believed them to be the product of a minor but extremely rare and esoteric talent – a talent deriving nourishment from classical and baroque sculpture, from Gustave Moreau, Moore, Beardsley, the early Surrealists and Dali, but strong enough to assimilate many influences and to fuse them into a highly personal art.”