Exhibitions: Twentieth Century British Paintings and Drawings, James Hyman Gallery, 1 August - 27 September 2002.
One of the most important paintings of William Robert's later years, this painterly work is at once tightly constructed and playfully posed.
A row of figures sit at the bar, probably at a pub near William Roberts home near Camden Town in north London. The view was perhaps spied through the window by the artist, who was not a pub goer and the clothing and headscarfs curiously suggesting a world that is altogether less urban. The women have the solid forms of Russian peasants and their echoing forms resemble Russian dolls.
Meanwhile the festive hats worn by the men suggest a celebration although the subtle colours suggest a less jolly mood.
In the background on a shelf is a black and white television set, on which two figures are locked in a passionate embrace that is virtually ignored by the people in the pub.