HUTTON, John. ~ Three Muses (Painting, music and literature). [c. 1953]. 1953
Oil on board (238.1 x 130.2 cm), signed, inscribed with title and exhibition details verso ( ‘J. Hutton Exh/ New Zealand/1972’ and, ‘Cat No 2 Group 3/ Three Muses’). Provenance: the artist’s family.
Basil Spence and John Hutton worked together as architect and mural painter for the Society of Mural Painters’ RIBA exhibition in 1953. The scheme that they picked to work on was one for the interior of an office building. David Rock designed an interior with a mezzanine and interesting views throughout. On one side of the room was to be a mural with nine full height muses by John Hutton. Hutton, however, never came up with the other six in time for the exhibition, so Rock simply made them up in Hutton’s style. Many years later a book was written about John Hutton where the author mistook the six muses that Rock had created for Hutton’s own work, arguing that the six muses sketch had been mislaid over time! At the opening of the exhibition, however, there was a lot of embarrassment as Hutton had motioned Rock into a group and introduced him to his model Marigold, whom Rock had only met in her dressing gown when he collected Hutton’s sketches. After a few seconds of confusion Rock said “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t recognise you with your clothes on!” Exhibited: John Hutton New Zealand Tour, National Art Gallery, Wellington, et al, 1972, cat no. 2.