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White Cliffs, Dover, Kent
© NC Aventales AG. Photo credit: Dover Collections

White Cliffs, Dover, Kent

Noël Coward (1899–1973)

Dover Collections

The author of over 50 plays; 25 films as writer, director or star; hundreds of songs; a ballet and two autobiographies, he began sketching during his childhood in south London. He resumed watercolour painting in the early 1930s, usually at home in Kent. He was encouraged by Sir Winston Churchill to take up oils, which Coward employed to create colourful, stylish, a little naïve and sometimes theatrical views around his English, Swiss and above all Jamaican homes. Artists such as Derek Hill, who painted his portrait, also advised him. Coward had an allergy to turpentine, so he wore gloves when painting and used casein as a medium. Although Coward, knighted in 1969, did not design for his own shows, he completed a poster for his musical Sail Away.

Text source: 'Artists in Britain Since 1945' by David Buckman (Art Dictionaries Ltd, part of Sansom & Company)

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