George Always: Portraits of George Melly by Maggi Hambling

Past display archive
27 June 2009 - 10 January 2010

Room 37a


George Always II, courtesy The Ivy - © Maggi Hambling

George Always II, courtesy The Ivy
© Maggi Hambling
Photography © Douglas Atfield

‘George often makes an appearance in my dreams.  I still hear him laugh, tell jokes and sing.  From wherever he may be.’ – Maggi Hambling

This display is Maggi Hambling’s celebration of George Melly, and their friendship.  The works include paintings and drawings made from life, and then following his death in 2007 from memory and imagination. Hambling writes; ‘After first my father and then Henrietta Moraes died, paintings began – and so with George Melly. I loved and had worked from life with all three and so the fact of death did not kill my desire to paint them.  One by one they inhabited me’. The portraits are concerned with the simultaneous absence and presence of the subject, and are at once tender, challenging and funny.



© National Portrait Gallery, London