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James Fitton RA (1899 –1982) - 1942 Lithograph, The Pantomime



A dynamic and vibrant chromolithograph showing a darkly humorous scene from a pantomime with absurd and grotesque clowns at a dinner table, reeling back in shock as a beautiful fairy waves her wand above them. The artist has signed in print to the lower right corner and the publisher's name is below. There is a label at the reverse with the artist's name and information about the media. The lithograph has been presented in a perspex protective sheet with backing board. On paper.


There is a large tear across the lower left corner and some abrasion to the surface. There is creasing at the upper left quadrant and some losses to the lower right edge.


70 x 100cm (27.6" x 39.4")

Artist Biography

James Fitton R.A. (11 February 1899 – 2 May 1982) was an English painter, lithographer and theatre set designer, and a founder member of the left-wing Artists' International Association.

Fitton's passion for drawing developed when he was hospitalised aged eight after a botched mastoid operation, performed on the kitchen table. In a letter home to his parents he wrote “Be sure and bring my paints and paper and my bag of boiled sweets or I shall be vexed”. Although the infection was stymied, Fitton was rendered permanently deaf in one ear. In an introduction to the Dulwich Picture Gallery catalogue, John Sheeran suggested that Fitton's keen visual awareness may have been heightened by the damage to one of his senses.

In 1920 Fitton moved to London where he attended evening classes at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and was tutored by Archibald Standish Hartrick. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1929 and from 1932, Fitton was an active member of the London Group. His first solo exhibition was held at the Arthur Tooth and Sons gallery in 1933. Fitton worked in a wide variety of formats, producing cartoons for the Left Review and posters for the Ministry of Food. He worked as a printer and advertising artist, and in 1937 designed posters for London Transport, commissioned by Frank Pick. In the late forties he executed cinema posters and programmes for the Ealing Studios and Romulus Films.
Fitton appeared as a castaway on the BBC Radio programme Desert Island Discs on 9 January 1971.

More Information
Code rk996
Artist James Fitton RA (1899 –1982)
Date 1942
Dimensions 70 x 100cm
Medium Lithograph
Style Illustration Art
Subject Genre Scene
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