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Edna’s Scrapbook

When one is creating a new website it is essential to go back and check that it is complete in every way. Whilst looking through old photographs, negatives and paper reproductions of David’s work, we found a scrapbook of David’s work which his mum, Edna, had meticulously kept – it was a heartwarming find. In it were the art critic’s comments on David’s first one-man exhibition. The following is taken from Edna’s scrapbook and the words of art critic Linda Talbot.

Chest Without a Drawer

“The chest does not have a drawer. To the right of it lies a vague expanse and on top of the chest there appears to be blank white paper. Yet this “commonplace” piece of furniture has potent presence.

This is only one aspect of work by David Atack. In his show in the Theatre at New End, Hampstead (March 1976), he follows his instinct in analysing almost anything – from landscape and rooftops to odd objects, like the drawerless chest – that cross his unprejudiced path of observation.


Some landscapes, seen in abstract terms are taut; others are freer and begin to coalesce more meaningfully. In this way, Atack’s development can be charted.

Lauren at the Studio Door

One early canvas is entirely filled with paint; later he uses it more sparingly.

The Open Door

The Rocking Chair

Glass and Stool

View from the Studio

The oil of “Rooftops” (above) is particularly memorable with an unusual combination of detail and urban impressionism; while his depiction of a “Camel Trip” is almost entirely a matter of mood, the desert heat is almost tangible.

Camel Trip

Atack studied at the Central School of Art before winning a scholarship to study the work of Bonnard in Paris. This influence is perceptible, but it will be interesting to see which direction this artist subsequently takes.”

First Garden

The truth is, David simply added to his repertoire – it is as true now as it was then. “He follows his instincts in analysing almost anything, from landscapes and rooftops to odd objects that cross his unprejudiced path of observation”. Some work is taut, others are freer, some are filled with paint and in others he uses it more sparingly. Add to this a full portfolio of portraiture and you will see that Linda Talbot’s predictions for the course of David’s art were very, very close to the truth. Two recent trips to the Bonnard exhibition at Tate Modern shows that this love has persisted through time, changing tastes and changing needs.


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