To Jodhpur and back
This loving and lavish account of the life and work of Maureen Eyre Proudman, artist and designer, has been assembled by Kate Proudman, her granddaughter. The cover shows what Maureen regarded as her best work, 'Spring Morning', which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1948.
Perhaps the most intriguing episode in a very full life was the young Maureen Eyre's sojourn in India. In 1931, a couple of years after graduating from the Royal College of Art, she headed out alone by boat to Bombay, travelling on to Rajputana (what's now Rajasthan) to stay with an uncle who worked on the Indian Railways.
In Jodhpur, she mixed with the maharajah and his family, eating from gold plates and bowls and attending the opening of the Jodhpur Flying Club. Kate Proudman muses about whether her grandmother went out as part of the "fishing fleet", seeking in the Indian Raj an eligible bachelor. That's certainly how it worked out. Philip Proudman was a civil engineer with the Jodhpur State Railways. They married in Singapore in March 1932 - this book includes a wedding report from The Straits Times as well as a wonderful sepia wedding photo.
Maureen and Philip lived in India for a further three years. As well as being a mother, Maureen returned to her work as an artist - designing this glorious travel poster for Indian Railways, dated 1934 and printed in Bombay. You can see in the foreground two women carrying water on their heads, and towering above the majesty of Jodhpur's Mehrangarh Fort.
You can find out more about the book and its author (Kate has followed in Maureen's footsteps and is an artist) on Kate Proudman's website. And you can order the book on the Blurb website - there's much more to it, and to Maureen's life, than I've mentioned here, and it includes dozens of evocative photographs and marvellous examples of Maureen's work.
Hey Andew thanks for the great story on Kate's book. It connected us and we discovered that her grandmother used to go flying with my grandfather, who was the original commander of the Jodhpur Flying Club. Tales of audacious tales of aviation in 1930s India are now bouncing in the ether back and forth across the Atlantic. Great stuff.
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