Gallery: Sylvia Plath’s Never-Before-Exhibited Drawings

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Tomorrow would have been Sylvia Plath’s 79th birthday, had she not committed suicide at age 30. Although the literary legend is best known for her semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar and the posthumously published collection of poetry Ariel, as her daughter Freida Hughes explains, “her passion for art permeated her short life.” After abandoning her vibrant, complex paintings made during her years as an art student for literature, Plath continued to draw compulsively and illustrate her writing, deriving pleasure and inspiration from the craft.

Now for the first time, 44 pen and ink drawings by Plath will be on view at the Mayor Gallery in London, November 2 through December 16. Among her subjects: a kiosk near the Louvre, huts of Cambridge, views of the Spanish countryside, and Parisian streets, as well as a few items intimately linked to her literary work, like a pair of patent leather shoes entitled The Bell Jar that she loving described in her novel of the same name. See a selection of the drawings from the Sylvia Plath: Her Drawings and Dadamaino: Volumes, spotted via Dangerous Minds, in our gallery.

Boat of Rock Harbour, Cap Cod. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery. All images via the Telegraph.

Colorful kiosk near Louvre. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

The Bell Jar. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

From The Bell Jar: “I had removed my patent leather shoes after a while, for they foundered badly in the sand. It pleased me to think they would be perched there on a silver log pointing out to sea, like a sort of soul-compass after I was dead.”

Tabac Opposite Palais de Justice. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Curious French Cat. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Untitled (Male Portrait in Profile). Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Meadow-Flowers. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Harbour Cornucopia, Wisconsin. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Cambridge — a view of gables and chimney-pots. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Untitled (Fruit Plate). Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

The Pleasure of Odds and Ends. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

The Pleasure of Odds and Ends. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

View of chimney-pots, gables and artist’s skylights from Room 26 of Hotel Bearn, on Left Bank, Paris. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Untitled (Study of a Church and Chapel). Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

Untitled (Cow). Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery

White plaster tenements on cliffs over fishing bay. Benidorm, Spain. Image credit: Sylvia Plath. Courtesy Mayor Gallery