The unseen Rex Whistler


An exhibition of paintings by the elusive Rex Whistler (1905-1944) is on at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler in Mayfair until 14 December to celebrate the publication of a new biography “In Search of Rex Whistler” by Hugh and Mirabel Cecil. The setting of the exhibition is highly appropriate as Sibyl Colefax and Rex Whistler knew one another well; both were great friends of Cecil Beaton and frequently stayed at Ashcombe, his magical house in Wiltshire. The famous Yellow Room is being transformed for the occasion by the leading international exhibition designer, George Carter.

The Unseen Rex Whistler

The book jacket shows a detail from the Tent Room at Port Lympne, Kent, 1932. By permission of the Aspinall Foundation © Estate of Rex Whistler.

Toile de Jouy by Rex Whistler

The talented and versatile Rex Whistler also designed this  Toile de Jouy for the village of Clovelly in Devon. The  ‘Clovelly’ Toile’ comes in five colourways and is £30 a metre.

Clovelly tea towels designed by Rex Whistler

The set of three ‘Clovelly’ tea towels based on Rex Whisler’s toile design are £14.

Christmas card designed by Rex Whistler

Christmas card of a collage, The Angel Gabriel, created by Whistler for a fellow officer in the Welsh Guards and his wife in 1943, the artist’s last Christmas before his death in action in Northern France in July 1944. They will be on sale at £5 for a pack of six.

The paintings on view are all privately owned and most have never been exhibited in public before. There are eight large mural panels, painted in 1936 for a house in Hill Street, Mayfair, depicting imaginary landscapes, including a mysterious mountain city and a country house seen across a lake. There are also portraits, among them a Watteau-esque painting of Lady Pamela Berry and her son and a gently humorous portrait the artist called “St. Toughy” of the beautiful Angela Dudley Ward. Contemporary photographs and rare illustrations by Whistler will also be on show.

The Unseen Rex Whistler (22 Nov-14 Dec) is at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, 39 Brook Street, London W1. Tel: 020 7493 2231

There are also two evening lectures: Rex Whistler, The Muralist (26 Nov) and Rex Whistler, The Portrait Painter (28 Nov). Tickets are £20 each, to include a pre-lecture glass of wine. To book email:

‘In Search of Rex Whistler’ by Hugh and Mirabel Cecil is published by Frances Lincoln, price £40



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