Study of two sunflowers
Passe-partout (ref: 4871)
Watercolour, 7 7/8 x 5 in. (20 x 12.7 cm.)
Mahoney was a great enthusiast for plants and gardens - a passion he
shared with his wife, Dorothy Bishop, and from his time as a student
with his friends Edward Bawden, Geoffrey Rhoades,
John Nash and Evelyn Dunbar, the latter with whom he published
Gardener's Choice in 1937. The correspondence between this circle is
full of exchanges about the discovery, nurturing and drawing of new
potential subjects facilitated by sending to each other plant cuttings
sent by post.
Oak Cottage, in Wrotham Kent, where Dorothy and Charles lived after the war and for the rest of their lives, was a source of immense inspiration for both artists. Once the garden that they planted had matured Charles especially rarely went elsewhere for inspiration. Sunflowers held a special significance for the artist - he was particularly fond of the giant sunflower, Helianthus annuus, capable of outgrowing a man within a season. He made many colour and black and white studies of this species, capturing the convoluted energy of their rough stems and massive heads, and the ragged angles of their great leaves.