Hyde Park was Lewis's entry for the 1932 Rome Scholarship in Mural Painting.
Lewis prepared initial studies and cartoon at home, Llwyn-On, and then moved to London to complete canvas during first few months of 1931. Many of the children who appear in the park scene were from Croesycieiliog. The model for this study was Mrs Roberts from Newport - in the final composition she appears in a similar pose, sewing, seated in red, at the centre of the composition.
Lewis knew Hyde Park well from his days at the Royal College of Art - he loved going there to sketch . The subject - a metropolitan scence - makes an interesting pendant to his Allegory of two years earlier. These two pictures might be seen as a discourse between Town and Country. His choice of an overtly modern subject might also have been to answer his critics who found that in Allegory "his field workers are much more conscious of Rome than of their legitimate business….”.
Stanley himself appears center stage, reclining, his sketching bag to hand. My mother and sister made fun of his plus fours, which I bought for riding his Raleigh bike across London. The models for the painting were mostly people Stanley saw in the park – “real people are often like that – groups of people enjoying themselves”. He visited the Park early each morning to sketch the down and outs who slept there at night. From numerous pocket book sketches Stanley worked his figure studies up at his lodgings in Earls Court. The man seated on the far right, reading, was Stanley’s father. Stanley sourced other figures from his pocket book, “Look at Albrecht Durer – he never left the house without a sketch book –recording a broken wall, a tree, a figure walking.” Some of the models Lewis used were from Newport. Many of the children were from Croesycieiliog. Mrs Roberts doing needlework (seated in red), Clifford Barry, one of Stanley’s students at Newport who Stanley considered to be a fine watercolourist, (seated extreme right smoking and mid left drinking from a flask). The old lady seated in profile on the left was a Royal College of Art Model. The fashionable lady holding an umbrella arm in arm with a gentleman in a top hat was Miss Muriel Pemberton, later head of fashion at St. Martins (a post she held until she retired). At the time Lewis was courting her; she glances back coquettishly towards him. Pemberton also served as the model for the seated central figure with the Chinese parasol which Stanley recalls going to buy as a compositional devise, to add colour, from Woolworths. The figure in a red beret holding Stanley’s bicycle is his sister Margaret. His young cousin Joan, (daughter of Aunt Sally) is playing with a hoop - she was also the model for the girl eating an apple in Allegory, Stanley's first attempt at the Rome Scholarship. The woman in light blue sitting on the ground and reading a book is a fellow student from the Royal College of Art. The woman seated to the center left, in blue, is Stanley's cousin Edith .