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Posted 20 June 2016 - 12:47 AM
"Malvina Cheek, who has died aged 100, had a long career as a painter and illustrator, and was probably the last survivor of the many topographical painters to be employed on the wartime scheme, Recording Britain.
The youngest of two daughters of Percy Ebworth Cheek and his wife Jessie, née Cross, Malvina Cheek was born at Hampton, Middlesex, on July 8 1915. Her unusual name was chosen because of connections between the Cheek family and the Falkland Islands.
Malvina had a happy childhood and was encouraged in her interests by her father, an artist manqué. She attended St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls, Carshalton (although she was not a Catholic), and went on to study at Wimbledon School of Art, then at the Royal College of Art, from which she graduated in 1938. Her work reflected the careful craftsman-like approach to drawing and painting typical of the period; Cezanne was a lasting influence.
After graduation, Malvina Cheek began teaching at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and was evacuated with them to Luton following the outbreak of the Second World War, working also in the blood transfusion unit of the local hospital. Then she was invited by Arnold Palmer, the secretary of Recording Britain, to contribute watercolours of buildings and places that might be threatened by the war.
There are 14 examples of her work for the scheme in the collection of the V&A. Her painting of the Mow Cop tower in Cheshire, seen standing perilously on its crag against the light, is especially striking. A bold and independent spirit, Malvina Cheek spent much of the war in London and disdained taking cover in air raid shelters. She painted a portrait of her father wearing his ARP uniform, and Your Gas Mask will take care of You, now in the collection of the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon."
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