December 20, 2016
Sir Noel Coward (1899-1973) was one of the most prominent and versatile creative talents of the twentieth century, authoring over fifty plays (many of which he starred in) and having a hand in writing, directing, and acting in more than twenty-five films, as well as composing hundreds of songs and producing numerous short stories, poems, musical revues, a novel, and a three-volume autobiography. Later in life, he added painting to his repertoire of artistic endeavors, transforming what was initially a recreational pastime for purposes of relaxation into an accomplished sideline activity meriting serious consideration. Though most of his paintings—which generally took the form of landscapes and seascapes—were executed in his adopted homes of Jamaica and Switzerland and his native British Isles, the historical record reveals a few rarely viewed efforts from other Caribbean locales, including the painting Nassau, the single extant oil known to have been produced in The Bahamas.
Coward’s talents were so prodigious and diverse that he earned the nickname The Master; indeed, his longtime friend Lord Louis Mountbatten, paying tribute to him on his seventieth birthday, was moved to say: “There are probably greater painters than Noel, greater novelists than Noel, greater librettists, greater composers of music, greater singers, greater dancers, greater comedians, greater tragedians, greater stage producers, greater film directors, greater cabaret artists, greater TV stars. If there are, they are fourteen different people. Only one man combined all fourteen different labels—The Master.”
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