Version of T S Eliot

© The Estate of Patrick Heron. All rights reserved, DACS 2023.

VERSION OF T S ELIOT : 1949 1949

Patrick Heron (1920 – 1999)


43 X 33.5 CM
Accession number


Heron was a conscientious objector during the Second World War and was made to do ‘useful’ work in lieu of military service; because of this, he was not able to paint for six years, at the end of which he returned with especial urgency to his chosen task. In 1947 he asked the poet T S Eliot for permission to do a portrait of him, and was allowed to come and make drawings of him where he worked at the publishers Faber and Faber. From this came three paintings and a drawing, on which this monotype is based. In it Heron adopted a Cubist device of showing two views of the same object from different angles. The effect of seeing Eliot’s face frontally and in profile is strong. Heron captured the poet’s keen eyes and also characteristic profile which had been described as being like ‘a bird of prey of some sort’. The best of three Eliot portraits is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery (