Fantasy for Flute – 'Huxley, wrestling with an Ape'

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Fantasy for Flute -- 'Huxley, wrestling with an Ape'

Fantasy for Flute – 'Huxley, wrestling with an Ape', 1942
Pen and ink, 23.5 cm x 17.8 cm

'[S]ometimes, in the evening gloom / outside the Senior Common Room, / you'd see him pull up short, and stare / and prod the disembodied air / with furtive strokes, as if before / his vision pranced a dinosaur / advancing with ungainly hops / or lumbering triceratops / or maybe the contorted shape / of Huxley, wrestling with an Ape / in mortal combat, to contrive / which was the fittest to survive! / Flute stood there trembling, visage blenched / before those adversaries clenched / while Dons with supercilious frowns / passed by, and muttered in their gowns / "Tho' none his learning could impute, / he wanders sometimes, old Max Flute . . . "'
PROVENANCE: Estate of John David Roberts (held in Tate store, 2014)
REPRODUCED: [John] David Roberts, Fantasy for Flute (Oxford: Vincent Printing Works, 1942)

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