Jessup Ceiling Commission                                                         please click on the icons above to navigate the site




Helen Jessup was one of the first purchasers of a major work of mine from the Redfern 1970 exhibition. Helen was very enthusiastic about my work and bought another piece later on. Helen’s interest was such that she asked me to make a ceiling for her dining room to compliment the works she already had. My initial reaction was that the room was too small to take such a work. But her enthusiasm overcame my weak resistance. As things turned out I am very pleased that Helen had convinced me to make the piece.

A condition of the commission was that the work should be capable of easy removal in the likelihood of moving house. I devised a suspended ceiling made up of 6 interlocking trapezoid wood panels with canvas laid on the surface. This form determined the structure of the image as I decided to disguise the diagonal joins in the panels with three black lines. The work had to be smaller than the room space because of how I decided to suspend the panels: without any permanent fixing which would have interfered with the painted surface.


My studio was not big enough to see the work in entirety before it was hung. I painted the work in two halves standing opposite each other to make it easier to imagine how the work would look when finished.


The work has been installed in London, Jakarta, New York, Washington and now, its final resting place, Norfolk, Connecticut: where it looks the best it has ever looked.


Dr Helen Ibbotson Jessup is an art historian, author and curator. Her husband Philip Jessup was, until recently, the Secretary General Counsel at the National Gallery in Washington. They are the most important supporters and collectors of my work and also great friends.


I do not have a record of how the ceiling looked in Jakarta.




The Jessup Ceiling: South Kensington, London














The Jessup Ceiling: New York











The Jessup Ceiling: Georgetown, Washington DC

Helen had one of the walls moved 6” to accommodate

the ceiling in Georgetown , thereby sacrificing 6” of

space in the kitchen.









The Jessup Ceiling: Norfolk, Connecticut

Helen out did herself: building an extension

to house the ceiling and other works