Suspended Deputy Head Faces Fresh Allegations Over Works of Art

Paintings by influential Chiswick artist Mary Fedden were given to school so children could appreciate them

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Chiswick Artist Mary Fedden donated paintings to school so they could be appreciated by the children.

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Already under investigation for financial irregularities at his school, deputy head and Conservative party activist Dr Richard Evans is now facing more questions over valuable missing works by Chiswick artist Mary Fedden.

As reported in The Guardian, The Portland Gallery, one of Mary Fedden's art dealers, said they were concerned that Evans may have sold some of her paintings. The Royal Academician, who taught David Hockney, donated several paintings to Copland School in Wembley so they could be appreciated by the children.

However, an email from The Portland Gallery published in The Guardian stated that, "It has now come to light that Dr Evans has been consigning Mary Fedden paintings for sale at Sotheby's - around 15 of them have been sold (for many thousands of pounds) in this way over the last several years."

The gallery has requested an explanation from Dr Richard Evans about the alleged sales. The former Conservative parliamentary candidate and advisor of David Cameron was suspended from his post last month along with the school's headteacher, Sir Alan Davies, as allegations of financial irregularities at the school were investigated.

Mary Fedden left school to study at the Slade School of Art at the age of sixteen. At the outbreak of the Second World War she served in the Land Army and the Woman's Voluntary Service and was commissioned to produce murals for the war effort. In 1944 she was sent abroad as a driver for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes.

After the war, Fedden returned to easel painting and developed her individual style of still life painting. In an article in 'The Artist' magazine, she wrote, “I really float from influence to influence…I found the early Ben Nicholson's fascinating as were the paintings of his wife Winifred. I also admire the Scottish artist Anne Redpath and the French painter Henri Hayden.”

In 1951 Mary Fedden married the artist Julian Trevelyan who she had met before the war. They took a studio on the Thames River at Chiswick, where Fedden, in her 90's, still lives and works today. Together, Trevelyan and Fedden travelled widely and even collaborated on a mural commission for Charing Cross Hospital.

From 1958-1964 she taught at the Royal College of Art and was appointed the first female tutor in the Painting School. Her pupils included David Hockney and Allen Jones. Subsequently, she taught at the Yehudi Menuhin School and was elected Royal Academician. From 1984 to 1988 she was President of the Royal West of England Academy. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath and an O.B.E. for her work.

An exhibition of sixty oils and watercolours spanning the last five decades will be held in July at The Portland Gallery

June 9, 2009