Photo credit: Gallery Oldham
Can anyone help use identify the sitter in this portrait? We'd love to know more about her.
Although currently undated on Art UK, it was probably exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1924, as in that year no. 456 was the artist’s 'Girl in a Wood' https://bit.ly/3jjSXlK. So this probably should date from 1924 or before – certainly it was purchased from the artist in 1926. We have asked the Collection if they have any more information within their records or have an image of the back of the painting that they might be able to make available, and we should receive a reply from Tuesday of next week.
Some background information about Beeton and fellow artist-wife Geneste Penrose https://bit.ly/3ynsojG
The hair fits a 1920s date.
If it is the same work, the painting was noticed in the review of the RA's exhibition which was carried in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph of Wednesday 7th May 1924, though as being by Alan Beaton (sic).
This research project “ALAN BEETON ARA (1880 – 1942)” in Art & Antiques Appraisals discusses “two local favourite models” but does not name the younger of the two. https://tinyurl.com/yfzb5txj
“Two local favourite models were a gypsy woman and girl who Beeton worked with extensively at Hammonds. The older gypsy, Myrenni, now has her portrait hung in the Master’s Lodge at Trinity, on loan there from the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, to whom it was donated by Lord Rothermere.
Beeton had noticed the gypsy girl with her interesting face and approached her about being a model which she then frequently did.”
This girl does not look like a gypsy to me, and her face does not strike me as what is typically called "interesting."
Yes, I agree with you, Jacinto. However, I thought it might help if she was a local model.
This is, however, an interesting picture, more so to me than the one of the gypsy woman at Cambridge (which is on Art UK). It combines a pre-Raphaelite setting with an Ingres or Bouguereau-like figure (in terms of technique). It does not feel French, of course, but it is very much itself, quite unconcerned with what was going on around it art-wise at the time.
The Collection has commented: 'We’ve checked the artist file and there is very little. There is a catalogue from an exhibition at an unspecified location and date. '
The attached news item, from the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle, of Friday 17th May 1963, makes reference to the presentation of Sir Gerald Kelly's "A Painter's Choice" collection. In Derek Hudson's 'For Love of Painting: The Life of Sir Gerald Kelly' (1975) the author notes that this was a travelling exhibition, though he does not list the host venues' names.
Thus, the above-mentioned catalogue can be dated to 1963.
The show should not be confused with the exhibition of works owned by Edward Le Bas, R.A., entitled 'A Painter's Collection', which had been presented at the Royal Academy up to the 28th of April of that same year.
Two more reviews from the 1924 Royal Academy exhibition reinforce Kieran's point about how 'Girl in a Wood' was noticed. No-one has a copy of Royal Academy Illustrated 1924 (it does not appear to me to be online) to see if 'Girl in a Wood' appears within it?