circa 1950. Folio leaf, measuring at least 14 by 9 inches, white cardboard mat, early wooden frame, overall measuring 18 1/2 by 13 inches. Horizontal folded crease, not affecting portrait, to lower margin. Item #639
THE HEAD OF G.K. CHESTERTON: "THE ORACLE OF OUR YOUTH" Large original portrait of Gilbert Keith Chesterton, signed by the artist and captioned: "G.K.C.—A CARACATURESQUE IMPRESSION." When G.K. Chesterton died in June 1936, tributes poured in from a generation of his contemporaries and acolytes, ranging from Dorothy Sayers, T.S. Eliot, and Hilaire Belloc to Charles Williams, Bernard Shaw, and C.S. Lewis. A verse by Walter de la Mare typifies the reaction to his passing: "Knight of the Holy Ghost, he goes his way / Wisdom his motely, Truth his loving jest; / The mills of Satan keep his lance in play, / Pity and innocence his heart at rest." Chesterton was buried in the cemetery in Shepherd’s Lane, Beaconsfield with a monument stone carved by Eric Gill. "On Saturday, 27 June, a requiem Mass was celebrated at Westminster Cathedral with a congregation of 2000 people. Ronald Knox preached the panegyric with an eloquence remembered by Ada Chesterton, the widow of Cecil Chesterton: 'He painted Gilbert's achievements, aspirations, in words as glowing as the dead man himself could have used, and in triumphant sentences one could hear the leaping of the sword from the scabard in challenge of justice and oppression'" (Joseph Pearce, Literary Converts). Knox said of Chesterton: "The brilliance of his work, the wideness of his appeal set the fashion in favour of a religious attitude which the fashion of an earlier age derided." Monsignor Knox himself would later remark: "The sermon I think I am most proud to have preached, the panegyric uttered in Westminster Cathedral when you and I and all our contemporaries lost, in Chesterton, the oracle of our youth." Dorothea Braby was one of the primary illustrators working for the Golden Cockerell Press during the publisher's peak in 1940s and 50s. Braby rendered Chesterton's head in a stippled effect, measuring roughly ten inches tall. The portrait is undated but was likely done around the middle of the century. indicating Chesterton's place in the firmament of Catholic England.