451life partnered with author Jonathan Christie and Unicorn Publishing Group to offer signed copies of George Smart, The Tailor of Frant: Artist in Cloth & Velvet Figures.
On 451life we are interested in process and motivation, but all we know about this extraordinary artist is that we know very little for sure. Where he lived, the materials he used and the subjects he chose, sketch an impression of his genius loci and the quality, consistency and quantity of his work help to add texture to this life imagined. However his motivation and personality are guesswork. Like most ordinary working men his documentary footprint is almost non-existent. His silent artworks are all that speak for him now.
George Smart was born in 1774 and died a pauper in Frant, Sussex in 1846. During these years he served as a soldier, worked as a tailor, married and raised a daughter. He also created unique artworks, recognised as hugely important within the idiom of English Folk Art. The spotlight first fell on him in 2014 when 21 of his artworks appeared alongside other non-academic artists such as the Cornish painter Alfred Wallis and the embroider Mary Linwood. This unprecedented exposure sparked a huge interest in this imaginative and entrepreneurial artist.
In this new book, Jonathan Christie pieces together the fragments of this charming, eccentric and elusive artist’s life, gathering together the scraps of information that exist on him together with, for the first time, an unprecedented amount of examples of his work.