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Celia Paul was born in Trivandrum, South India, where her parents were Anglican missionaries, but the family moved back to Britain when she was five years old, in response to Celia’s poor health. She entered the Slade School of Art at the age of just seventeen. While a student, she found herself lacking inspiration until she began painting studies of her mother. Ever since, her paintings have been most often images of women, mostly people she knows well, be they family or close friends. Each represents an alternative and counterintuitive idea of power inflected deeply by her Christian faith, representing the contemplative tradition within Christianity in contrast to the active life. Her work echoes that of artists like Gwen John a century earlier (whose work is shown elsewhere on this floor) in its understatement and in the sense of painting as a vocation rather than a mere profession or trade.






oil on canvas


H 46.4 x W 46 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller, LLP

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Yale Center for British Art

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