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T.S. Eliot (1938)
Durban Municipal Art Gallery
© The Estate of Mrs G.A. Wyndham Lewis: The Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust,

“It seems to me a very good portrait, and one by which I am quite willing that posterity should know me, if it takes any interest in me at all…and I certainly have no desire, now, that my portrait should be painted by any painter whose portrait of me would be accepted by the Royal Academy.”
(Letter from T. S. Eliot to Wyndham Lewis (April 21, 1938))

Lewis submitted his portrait of Eliot to the annual Royal Academy exhibition at Burlington House in April, 1938. To the surprise of many, the portrait was rejected and a media storm followed. In a number of newspaper interviews, Lewis took the opportunity to denounce the Royal Academy as “a disgusting bazaar in which every sort of filth is accumulated every year.”

It is curious that Lewis submitted the painting, considering his opinion of the organisation. According to Lewis, the Royal Academy would not display good art even when it was offered to them, so by submitting a portrait, he proved his point, and called his actions “a plot to catch the Royal Academy, and the Royal Academy has been caught.”