The Jumble Sale – 12 August 2019
In this picture women are enjoying sorting through clothes and fabrics at a jumble sale, on the look out for a treasure or a bargain. They hold items up for view, delighting in what is before them. The clothes that have been worn and used by others, and now given away to be sold for charity, are their delight. This picture then is a reflection on the virtue of recycling clothing, where nothing good is wasted. It challenges our habits of consumption, of purchasing cheap clothes that are worn only a few times, then go to land-fill.
This is a modern painting composed of strong blocks of bright matte colours, flat shapes and figurative forms. The stylised figures are outlined. It is these flat shapes that inform the overall composition, which shows the influence of work by Henri Matisse.
This painting is ‘The Jumble Sale’, by Jeanette Lassen (1995), an artist with a background in textiles and clothing design. She attended the Edinburgh School of Art in the 1970s as a mature student, although she was mostly self-taught, later exhibiting in galleries across Scotland and England.
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John (the Baptist) answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
(Jesus said) Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
All poor and shuddering souls may take
your clothes away, for Jesus sake;
any who suffer, starved or hurt,
can have your ragged undershirt –
yes, even tear your fraying sleeve
for shreds of grace, as they believe.
Ann Wroe, Francis: A life in Songs,
reflecting on St Francis giving away his clothes to the poor