What does Rose Wylie love about the Sportsman?
Chef Stephen Harris and the fact that 'it’s the right colour for the edge of the sea' attract the local Vitamin P3 painter
Rose Wylie is a remarkable artist, writes Michele Robecchi in our contemporary painting survey, Vitamin P3, partly because of the way the 83-year-old works joyful, daily experiences and images into her pictures.
“The television and newspaper characters that permeate her paintings do not provide social commentary,” writes Robecchi. “They are there because of their intrinsic worth in the eyes of the artist or for their visual quality.”
Now we can add another everyday sight to that list: The Sportsman restaurant in Seasalter, near the artist’s home in Kent.
Many critics and diners delight in the way proprietor chef Stephen Harris refines his own sea salt and makes his own butter. However, Wylie told the Observer newspaper at the weekend that these touches don’t “actually matter that much to me.”
Instead the artist delights in the Sportsman’s building: an old pub right on the Kent coastline. “It doesn’t look tarted up,” she says, “it’s the right colour for the edge of the sea.”
Harris is also on good terms with Wylie’s children, and the artist herself appreciates the chef’s irreverent, distinctly British approach, which includes some unusual interpretations of classic British dishes.
“He once sent me this delicious steak and kidney pie with an oyster in the middle,” she tells the paper. “That was a nice touch. I very much like his attitude.”