Did you know

04 Jul 2023

Did you know? Lilian Holt

In July 1948, a Jewish painter, one of the greatest professional artists to ever visit Cyprus arrived on the island. David Bomberg was invited by his friend Austen Harrison, an architect based in Lapithos village in the Kyrenia district with the firm Hubbard & Brown; the trip was financed by his daughter, Dinora’s husband, Leslie Marr.

Bomberg, his wife Lilian, Dinora and Leslie Marr set off for a trip that was to prove one of the most productive and successful ventures in Bomberg’s career. They were not happy with the accommodation organised for them by Harrison in a monastery near Lapithos, so they rented a house in the village which was no better alternative; throughout their stay, they suffered from illness, poor accommodation, bad food, little water and the heat.

Yet the Cypriot landscape fascinated Bomberg and he identified with the old resilient ruins of castles to be found in the Kyrenia mountain range. The same went for Lilian. She was also fascinated by the Cypriot landscape and followed her husband on many of his excursions up the mountain range of Kyrenia, also painting. Similar colours, similar technique, Lilian was an excellent student. Both their works testified that they came out of the darkness of the Blitz in London and, as Bomberg’s biographer writes "into the dazzling sunlight of the Mediterranean, and his most magnificent landscapes were executed in Cyprus during a burst of sustained exhilaration."

The ‘Did You Know’ series is made possible with the support of OPAP (Cyprus) and Active Citizens Fund.

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