Francis Plummer – Tempera in the 20th Century


(left) Francis Plummer with one of his eccentric works


We have two distinctly and brilliantly bizarre paintings depicting surreal subject matters going into our March Fine Sale. The man responsible for these vast pieces is English painter and 20th Century proponent of egg tempera, Francis Plummer (1930-2019). The eccentric Englishman was born in London and studied art and design at the Woolwich Polytechnic School of Art before studying at the Royal Academy from 1949 to 1959 where he was promoted by Stanley Spencer and Sir Herbert Read. His background as an anatomical illustrator for Guy’s Hospital is evident in his meticulous detail of muscle and human form, all painstakingly painted in the Renaissance medium egg tempera, Plummer’s preferred medium. His works were often painted in large scale, which makes the effort of the tempera process and patient application all the more admirable.

Highly distinct in style and subject matter, Plummer’s paintings are mainly figurative works. The complex mixture of classical iconography, mystical colours and subject suggestive of and alluding to William Blake make Plummer’s works truly memorable, if not slightly and fantastically bizarre!

Despite not becoming a household name, Plummer did establish himself as a distinguished artist and was commissioned by the National Trust as well as featuring in exhibits in the Leighton House Galleries, the London Royal Academy Diploma Galleries and the London Leicester Galleries.

Please do take a look below at some other examples of his paintings including the painting titled 'Motherhood' and ' Sacrificial Dance' which are  going into the Fine Sale on the 7th of March and watch the link below from the British Pathe Archives for more information!


Francis Plummer – Tempera in the 20th Century

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