top of page



About the Exhibition

21 February 2021

Virtual Exhibition

14 March 2021




With their extraordinary eye for detail and dedication to their craft, father and son artists Willem and Walter Dolphyn were not only the best of friends. They were, and continue to be, the best of still life artists, albeit with different objects as their focus.

Still life painting flourished in Northern Europe during the early 17thCentury, reflecting the increasing urbanisation of Flemish life and emphasising home and personal possessions, commerce, trade and learning – all the aspects and diversity of every-day life.

For Willem, the most important thing in life was his painting and he spent hours studying the masterpieces in the museums in Antwerp. He worked in his studio off Venustraat from 1963, his rooms crowded with historic furniture, the shelves loaded with treasures, fabrics, glassware and ceramics which span the centuries, gleaming and glinting in the Northern light, each piece collected with pride and all contributing to his incredible compositions. The ideas for these compositions came to Willem during the night. Even in his dreams he worked, seeing Roman glass, Delft tiles, Flemish tapestry, fine fruits and expensive china drawn from across the continent and coming all together in his mind.

The art of narrative is at the heart of Walter’s practice. Jokingly self-styled as the Hieronymous Bosch of his age, above all Walter aims to tell stories. Inspired by the toys or figures themselves or by an everyday observation, he then directs the protagonists, sometimes solitary, sometimes in various surreal combinations, often poised mid-action, or crowded into vitrines and onto shelves. As light-hearted as his subject matter might first appear, Walter’s technique remains faithfully classical. Working from his studio in France and taking advantage of the wonderful Northern European light, his process is to first make sketches, followed by an initial underpainting of diluted oil, before working the objects out in full one by one. Achieving such exacting levels of detail is so demanding that he can only work in fifteen to twenty minute bursts on certain compositions, providing for a limited output of the highest standard.

We miss our ‘Dolphyn’ shows in the gallery, when our dear friends would burst through our doors, full of exuberance. Hopefully that time will come again in the not-too-distant future, and in the meantime, we hope you enjoy this collection of their stunning works.

bottom of page