Boy with Whip and Top
Signed l.r.: Dronsfield
40 by 33 cm., 15 ¾ by 13 in.
(mount size 59.5 by 51 cm., 23 ½ by 20 in.)
John Marsden Dronsfield was born in Lancashire. He studied briefly at Manchester School of Art. In 1918 he enlisted in the Young Solder’s Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment but was discharged the following year as being physically unfit. In 1923 he began work in London as an advertising artist and stage-designer for Sybil Thorndike. In 1939 he moved to South Africa, settling in Cape Town, where he built a reputation as an imaginative stage-designer for ballet and theatre. In 1945-48 he worked with Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies and Marda Vanne in theatrical productions which were a major contribution to the development of theatre in South Africa. He also wrote incidental music for their 1945 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. He was a member of the International Art Club, South Africa.
His first one-man exhibition was held in Cape Town in 1939. His work was included in the Overseas Exhibition of South African Art in the Tate Gallery, London in 1948 and in the Venice Biennale of 1950.
A Memorial Exhibition was help at the South African National Art Gallery, Cape Town in 1955.