Rosemary Tonks: A painting emerges from her house

What was in Rosemary Tonks house during her thirty years there?

Very few people, if any, entered her home at the top of Bath Hill where she lived in seculsion. She was a famous poet who had disappeared and no one knew where she was .

Now we know that on one wall was a painting of a young woman by Charles Gogin (1844-1931).

The oil painting, dated to the 1920s,  is being auctioned at Ewbank’s in Woking this month. Rosemary Tonks gave the picture away in May 2013 when she moved from her Victorian staff cottage to a flat in nearby Forest House, a modern block which had replaced the Victorian big house.

The painting probably came to her from her widowed aunt Dorothy who gave her a bed in her Bournemouth home when Rosemary fled London in 1979. Dorothy’s husband was painter Myles Tonks (1890-1960) who had inherited art books from his famous uncle  Henry Tonks.

Rosemary Tonks died in the spring of 2014.

The best account of her hidden life in Bournemouth has been written by Neil Astley in Bedouin of the London Evening: collected poems by Rosemary Tonks  (Bloodaxe Books £12)

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