Barnby died, at age 39, in 1941 when his plane was shot down [SA 231/228], but Jenkins reminisces about him in HSH [ 191/206, 229 /247]. Wandering the passages of Stourwater, Jenkins passes through the room where Barnby’s portrait of the waitress from Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant had hung. One of the pictures in another room was also a Barnby, “an oil sketch of the model Conchita, described by Moreland as ‘antithesis of the pavement artist’s traditional representation of a loaf of bread, captioned Easy to Draw but Hard to Get.'” [HSH 191/206]
Jenkins has told us of Barnby’s tastes but has given us few clues to the actual appearance of his pieces. Here with the mention of Conchita, we have another opportunity to make some guesses. Adrian Daintrey, oft cited as the model for Barnby, painted landscapes, cityscapes, still lives, and portraits. Despite the reputation as a womanizer that he shared with Barnby, he displayed few nudes; however, by diligent searching, we have discovered one (shown left). It shows his flair for bold swaths of color and prominent brush work. Her dark complexion and the exotic flower in her hair make her a plausible stand-in for La Conchita. Augustus John had also used Conchita as a model, but after reviewing a number of his nudes, we have not had the satisfaction of identifying Daintrey’s model among them.
Both Barnby and Daintrey were war artists during the Second War. Barnby’s painterly skills were soon applied to camouflage work, “disguising aerodromes as Tudor cottages,” [VB /18 ], which undoubtedly limited his palette of colors. Some of Daintrey’s war works, like French Soldiers at Sidon, 1944 and Egyptian Solders on a Truck, are now in the Imperial War Museum (digital images not available on the museum web site – accessed Dec. 4, 2016). Daintrey died in 1988.