Mark Lancelot Symons (born 1887 died 11 February 1935) was a popular British painter of the early 20th century, famous for his charming portraits and unusual allegorical works. The work of Mark Lancelot Simons follows the Victorian fairytale tradition in painting, and is also associated with religious themes. Many of his paintings feature mystical images and magical characters.
Mark Lancelot Simons is a native of the British capital. He was born in 1887, was the eldest child in the family of the painter and book illustrator Christian Simons (William Christian Simons). The boy’s mother, a professional pianist, gave concerts before marriage. In 1870, my father converted to Catholicism and began to earn money through church orders.
Mark Lancelot Simons from a young age communicated with famous artists who were friends of his family:
- James Abbot McNeill Whistler;
- John Singer Sargent;
- Hercules Brabazon Brabazon.
Simons learned the initial techniques of the visual arts from his father. Mark’s brothers Robert David and Stephen also became artists. The future master studied painting at the Felix Joseph Slade School of Fine Arts in London. His work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy, the New England Art Club, which focuses on contemporary French art.
Mark Simons inherited an interest in religious issues from his parents.
The artist was a member of the Catholic Evidence Guild, an international association of the Roman Catholic Church, represented it in discussions in Hyde Park, with eloquence, participated in a movement called the Book-Barrow Brigade, which disseminated Christian literature.
In the 20-30s. XX century, it was religious subjects that became a priority in the work of Simons, they were very significant for the painter. He interpreted them in an allegorical way, not always relying on the accepted canons. The Catholic press considered the works of Mark Simons to be outstanding, although some of the works were highly controversial.
In 1924 Simons got married. His wife Constance shared her husband’s religious beliefs and supported his artistic vocation. The family had three daughters, whom the master often depicted on his canvases. Also, the painter was fond of fairy tales. Mark Simons had many more creative plans, but the sudden death on February 11, 1935 did not allow them to come true.
The most famous paintings by Mark Lancelot Simons
Mark Simons’ paintings reflect his deep religiosity and interest in fairy tales, the fictional world of fairies and other fantastic creatures. Among the outstanding works, the following are worth highlighting:
- “Jorinda and Joringel” (1930) the plot is inspired by the tale of the brothers Grimm (Brüder Grimm), where two lovers find themselves in the forest and find themselves in the lair of an evil witch. Only on the canvas, instead of young people, are depicted children frolicking in the middle of flowers and not knowing about the danger hanging over them.
- “The Last Supper” (1933) the work is interesting because all the characters, except for Jesus, are dressed according to the modern artist’s fashion, the master recreates the appropriate interior, typical for the first quarter of the 20th century.
- Ann’s Baby Breakfast (1933), a work written shortly before Simons’s death, depicts one of his daughters, Anna.
- “Fairy Tale” (1935) the plot of the picture echoes an episode from Shakespeare’s play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. Only before the viewer appears not the fairy queen surrounded by her retinue, but naked children playing. In the foreground, attention is drawn to a girl sleeping sweetly on foliage.