Portrait of Charlie Abrew
Oil on canvas
141 x 113.6 cm
Gift from the Contemporary Art Society, 1988 © Maggi Hambling / Bridgeman Images. Photography Norman Taylor
Hambling is perhaps best known for her public works – including a sculpture of Oscar Wilde in central London and one dedicated to Benjamin Britten on Aldeburgh beach – and for portraits of frail, old or dying people, including her own sick father in the last years of his life.
Charlie Abrew was a lightweight boxer forced to retire when he became blind. In the 1930s he and his brother Manuel were Scotland’s only boxers of African origin. Hambling wrote: ‘He was very exciting to paint. I remember him being extremely patient, gentle, very sensitive with his hands and enjoying posing.’