Completed Portraits: British 20th C, South West England: Artists and Subjects 16 Can you identify the monogram and other marks on this portrait of Dr Dorothy Chown?

Dorothy Chown
Topic: Artist

There seems to be a large monogram bottom right - and possibly another inscription top left.

Martin Hopkinson, Entry reviewed by Art UK

2 attachments

Completed, Outcome

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Louis Musgrove,

How about Joseph Mordecai ? as I see Monogram as JM

Jacinto Regalado,

None of Mordecai's works on Art UK have such a disproportionately large and prominent monogram, Louis.

Kieran Owens,

There is possibly a small inscription in the bottom left corner, though the marks could also just be abrasions on the paint.

1 attachment
Louis Musgrove,

And that big orange oval top left-possibly DA ???
Er --- I have just been looking at the Chown Photographs in the Morrab Photo archive- and well ,this painting looks just like a photo of Mrs Chown ---Dorothy (Dolly)Amy Chown's mother ???

Louis Musgrove,

Ah yes--Top left DAC--- Dorothy Amy Chown

Kieran Owens,

Thank you David. There is nothing readable so perhaps it is just an optical effect on the digital image.

As a train-spotting footnote, the inverted text in the top left corner of the Morrab Photo archive photograph of Mrs. Chown is a fragment of Kenneth Grahame’s note on 'The Wind in the Willows'. Spinning the section the right way up (as attached), for the purposes of comparison the visible words are presented here in brackets:

“A book of (youth), and so perhaps chiefly for youth and those (who still) keep the spirit of youth alive in them; of life, sunshine, running water, (woodlands), dusty roads, winter firesides, free of problems, clear of the clash of the (sex, of life) as it might fairly be supposed to be regarded by some of the wise, small (things) that ‘glide in grasses and rubble of woody (wreck)’.”

Why these words by Grahame are attached to this photograph is unclear. Perhaps it was just an available page or sheet of paper upon which the photograph was printed.

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Marcie Doran,

This is an older discussion.

Is this the work of James Bolivar Manson (1879–1945)? In 1911 the Census shows Manson residing at 34 Hampstead Way, Hendon (London).

The attached composite is based on (clockwise):

1. This work
2. An extract from 'Edith Matthews, née Meredith'
3. 'Portrait of a seated lady in a blue dress' on the Bonham's website
4. 'The Garden'

I have included 'The Garden' because the minty green paint colour is similar to that used in Dr. Chown's dress.

I would have expected him to incorporate the B of his middle name in a monogram but the monogram would have been quite messy with another letter.

None of Manson’s works on Art UK carries a monogram, and those that are signed are done so differently. The existence of similar blues and greens in ‘The Garden’ isn't evidence. The paint colour, for instance, was widely available at the time, rather than being a ‘key match' that defines Manson’s work in relation to anyone else’s.

Tomorrow I'll ask the collection if they could help us by checking files that were inaccessible when this discussion began. According to their website, the portrait is believed to have been ‘painted in London when Dr Chown was a student, possibly by her landlady’. Where did that suggestion originate? Who was Dr Chown’s landlady?

Marcie Doran,

Portions of the Oriental vessel in a work by James Bolivar Manson resemble the monogram in the work being discussed.

Perhaps he just wanted to fill what would otherwise be a large blank space in the canvas.

The 1921 census shows that Dorothy Amy Chown was a medical student at the London School of Medicine. Her address was 13 Brunswick Square, WC1. Only her name is shown on that record.

A ship's manifest from September 1930 (New York to Plymouth and London) shows the address of Dorothy and her father Francis as Tehidy Sanatorium, Camborne, Cornwall.

The 1939 register shows that she lived with her parents and a young domestic servant at Polmennor House, Heamoor, Penzance, Cornwall.

The donors would have been the daughters of James Hodge (1920-2007) and his wife Betty Hodge (née Hood)(c. 1921-2008) of Cornwall. The ‘Cornish Guardian’ of the 28th February 1957 reported that James “is one of Britain's foremost authorities on jet propulsion. He is chief engineer of Power Jets, Ltd., has lectured in America on jets, and wrote a standard book on the subject. He was also one of the first men to fly in a jet-powered aircraft during the war.”

Jacinto Regalado,

Marcie, I do not think our monogram is related to the Asian ceramic figure in that Manson painting.

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