Meredith Frampton is the forgotten genius of British art

Story image for Art from BBC News

One day in 1980, a talented curator at the Tate gallery set out for the village of Monkton Deverill on the River Wylye in Wiltshire, south-west England. His destination was Hill Barn, an isolated and distinctive house with two tall chimneys on a hill overlooking the village.

Inspired by historical French architecture, the house had been designed and built in the 1940s by its occupant, an obscure octogenarian artist who had not painted a single picture for three-and-a-half decades. The curator hoped to secure the blessing of this recluse – a decorous throwback to the Edwardian era who once told a reporter, “On August 4, 1914, civilisation came to an end” – for a retrospective of his work.