Preliminary studies for Mercatora 


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Pen and ink on paper 1946

 The finished Mercatora, location now unknown, was an early post-war allegorical painting study of a female figure tracing lines on a sheet of vellum, Dunbar’s evocation of the cartographic spirit guiding the Flemish map-maker Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594). In these studies the floppy-haired male figure is based on Dunbar’s husband Roger Folley, a wartime RAF navigator for whom lines on maps were supremely important. Probably at his own request Folley was dropped from Dunbar’s final version.

We are grateful to Christopher Campbell-Howes, author of Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, Romarin, 2016