Emanuel von Baeyer
Sickert and his Circle
Sickert and his Circle
Walter Richard Sickert, James McNeill Whistler, Theodore Roussel, Sylvia Gosse
Emanuel von Baeyer London is delighted to present a selection of artworks by Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942) and his Circle, from an extensive collection visible on our online feature "Upstairs".
Covering almost 100 years, the exhibition features 63 paintings, drawings, and prints - often proofs impressions - by Sickert and his immediate circle. Over the course of his career, Sickert was a prolific and gifted painter, draughtsman, printmaker, writer, and teacher. As a tireless experimenter of different techniques, he often returned to the same subjects again and again through different media and approaches, sometimes many years apart.
The display includes works by Sickert’s master James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903), as well as Sickert’s French-born fellow student Theodore Roussel (1847 – 1926). Furthermore, the exhibition features works by Sylvia Gosse (1881 – 1968), who was Sickert’s pupil, collaborator, and lifelong friend; and Thérèse Lessore (1884 – 1945), the artist’s third wife since 1926 until his death.
The artworks largely come from a distinguished London private collector who built his collection of Sickert’s works over the last thirty-five years with knowledge and enthusiasm, focusing on the artist himself and his circles.
"Upstairs" is the top floor of our virtual exhibition space, featuring highly important works, from single objects to extensive collections. This floor is accessible by request only.
Please visit https://www.evbaeyer.com/upstairs/ to request the access and view the full exhibition.
Walter Richard Sickert, Noctes Ambrosianae, c. 1908. Etching and aquatint. Detail.
James McNeill Whistler
The Riva, No. 1
Size of plate: 19.9/20.5 x 29.7 cm.
Etching and drypoint.
Christie's Sale, Old Master & Modern Prints, 19 September 2007, lot 203.
Signed and annotated ‘imp’ in pencil on the tab. Literature: F. Wedmore. Whistler's Etchings, A Study and a Catalogue. London, 1899. No.157; Kennedy 192; Glasgow 229 III/IV. In 1879 Whistler was declared bankrupt; he had to sell his house in Chelsea and destroy works to keep them from creditors. Such humiliation came after he had been facing huge costs to sue the art critic John Ruskin for libel; a cause that he won, but with little financial reward. The crucial opportunity to escape London was offered to him by the Fine Art Society with the commission of a series of etchings in Venice. Whistler arrived in Venice in September 1879. He was active there from October 1879 to October 1880 and returned to London the following month. The Riva dates from 1880 and represents the Riva degli Schiavoni, seen from the Casa Jankowitz, with the dome of San Marco on the far right (in reverse). A similar view dating from the same period is Riva, No. 2 [Glasgow 230]. It was published in 1880 as part of the set Venice, a Series of Twelve Etchings, known also as the First Venice Set. Impressions were printed over many years, the plate being finally cancelled in 1889.
Walter Richard Sickert
Portrait of a young woman
28.5 x 12.4 cm.
Pastel on cardboard.
London, The Fine Art Society, 2013
Signed below the image. Literature: Sale Catalogue, The Fine Art Society, Sickert From Life, London, 2013, n. 6, illustrated. Exhibitions: London, The Fine Art Society, Sickert From Life, 2013, n. 6. The identity of the lady portrayed in this delicate pastel is not known to us. However, the elegant woman resembles Celia Brunel, Lady Noble (1871 - 1962), portrayed by Sickert in 1905 (Bath, Victoria Art Gallery, inv. BATVG : P : 1948.269). The artist had met her and her husband William Saxton Noble through his close friend and colleague Jacques Emile Blanche. Alternatively, the sitter could be either Sickert's first wife Ellen Cobden (c.1848 - 1914) or Canadian painter and Sickert's friend Elizabeth Adela Forbes (née Armstrong, 1859 - 1912).
James McNeill Whistler, The Riva, No. 1 1879–80. Etching and drypoint. Detail.
Henri Charles Guerard, after Whistler
Portrait of count Robert de Montesquiou-Fenzensac after Whistler
Size of plate: 25.2 x 11 cm. Size of sheet: 33 x 17 cm.
Etching, drypoint and roulette.
Signed in red ink on the image 'H. Guerard' (bottom right). Two of the artist's monogram stamps below the image. Literature: E.F.F. 68. Proof before lettering and reduction of the plate. The print is after the painting 'Arrangement in Black and Gold: Comte Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac' by Whistler, now in the Frick Collection, New York (inv. 1914.1.131).
Walter Richard Sickert
Size of plate: 19.8 x 22.9 cm. Size of sheet: 26.5 x 39.4 cm.
Etching and aquatint.
Given by the artist to Evelyn Paul (1883 - London - 1963); The Ruth and Joseph Bromberg Collection; With the Fine Art Society, London in 2004.
Signed in pen and ink with monogram and dedicated To Evelyn Paul / W.S.” (lower right), inscribed in pencil "40 Brys. Sq." (lower left).. Lettered below the image “Noctes Ambrosianae” (centre) and “Sickert” (right). This is the only known impression of the second state (of three), before the second application of aquatint. Watermark: VAN GELDER ZONEN. Literature: Bromberg 129, II/III, this impression cited and illustrated p.124; Sale Catalogue, The Fine Art Society, The Ruth and Joseph Bromberg Collection of Sickert Prints and Drawings, London, 2004, n. 36, illustrated; Baron 2006, n. 280.9. The print represents one of the top balconies of the Old Middlesex Music Hall in London, where Sickert was a regular.  The crowded audience belongs to the poorest Londoner classes, relegated to the cheapest part of the theatre with a reduced view of the stage. Such subject conveys Sickert’s interest for both the theatre and identity within the social classes, a matter that would be extensively explored by the Camden Town Group just a few years later. The title Noctes Ambrosianae derives from a series of imaginary dialogues that supposedly took place in the Ambrose’s Tavern, published by the Blackwood’s Magazine between 1822 and 1835. The print is related to an oil on canvas of the same title (Nottingham City Museum, NCM 1952-49) painted by Sickert in 1906, and to several preparatory drawings (Baron 2006, pp. 330-331, No. 280). The same view, framed vertically and with a few differences, is also the subject of another print by the artist titled “The Old Mogul Tavern”, another name for the Middlesex Music Hall. The drawing displayed in our exhibition titled "The Old Middlesex", represents the stalls and the orchestra pit of the same chamber hall, perhaps taken from the same point of view as the present etching. The present impression is dedicated to artist Evelyn Paul (1883 - London - 1963), who studied at the South Kensington School of Art and is best known as an illustrator and book illuminator. Evelyn Paul apparently lived at 40 Bryanston Square. A true artist’s proof, folded in four, with a counterproof or offset of a partially visible impression of the same print on the recto on the right. Very intense burr. On a full sheet. On the verso, the offset of part of a newspaper.  In Drury Lane, often called The Old Mo after the Old Mogul Tavern that started it as the Mogul Saloon in 1847, becoming the Middlesex Music Hall a few years later. In 1911 the Old Middlesex was rebuilt and transformed into the New Middlesex Theatre of Varieties. Today it is replaced by the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
Theodore Roussel, Portrait of Miss Hetty Pettigrew, 1908. Drypoint. Detail.
Portrait of Miss Hetty Pettigrew
Size of plate: 26.1 x 14.8 cm. Size of sheet: 29.1 x 18.2 cm.
Literature: Hausberg 80 II/II. Total printing: about 21 impressions. Inscribed in pencil 4.4. Fine impression with margins all around. Born in Portsmouth in 1867, Harriet, or Hetty, was the oldest of the three Pettigrew sisters, who became professional artist’s models after they moved to London in 1884 from the West Country. Hetty was Theodore Roussel's model since the early 1880s, and by the early 1890s was living with her two sisters in Fulham, not far from the artist's home on Parson's Green (Hausberg, p. 107). Hetty was not just Roussel's model; she was her studio assistant, possibly her pupil, and also his mistress, giving birth to their child Iris around 1900. Her sister Rose was Sickert's model in the 1880s.
Walter Richard Sickert
The Old Middlesex
Size of sheet: 22.5 x 31 cm.
Pen and brown ink, black chalk, heightened with white.
Anonymous; acquired by his mother in the 1980s and thence by descent; Sotheby’s Sale, Modern & Post-War British Art, 17 - 18 November 2015, London, lot 141.
Literature: Not in Baron 2006, but confirmed by her for the Sotheby's Sale in 2015. The present drawing represents part of the stalls and orchestra pit during a performance in the Old Middlesex chamber hall in London, where Sickert was a regular. Located in Drury Lane, the Old Middlesex was often called The Old Mo, after the Old Mogul Tavern that started it as the Mogul Saloon in 1847. It became the Middlesex Music Hall a few years later. In 1911, the Old Middlesex was rebuilt and transformed into the New Middlesex Theatre of Varieties. Today it is the Gillian Lynne Theatre. The view is taken either from the circle or the balcony on the left of the stage. The presence of a matchbox inside an ashtray and a poster of the show with two dancers in the bottom right hand corner of the image increases our spatial perception of the theatre. The drawing is one of the composition studies for the painting The Old Middlesex, executed by Sickert in 1906 (The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton, NB, Canada; Baron 2006, n. 282) and the prints of the same title that followed it  The drawing of the same title displayed in our exhibition probably features some of the first sketches for the present drawing, such as the detail of the wind musician. The etching Noctes Ambrosianae, also displayed in our exhibition, represents the top balconies of the same chamber hall, perhaps taken from the same point of view as the present drawing.  The print was first published in 1907 (Bromberg 127). A large plate of the print was published in 1910 and a small one in 1914 (Bromberg 136, 158).
Walter Richard Sickert, The Old Middlesex, c. 1906. Pen and brown ink, black chalk, heightened with white. Detail.
Violinist Tuning Up
Size of plate: 12.2 x 8.4 cm. Size of sheet: 20 x 13.2 cm.
T & R Annan, Glasgow; Ewan Mundy Fine Art.
Signed in pencil and inscribed The Fiddler 1918. Literature: Sale Catalogue, Michael Parkin Gallery, Sylvia Gosse 1881-1968. Paintings and Prints, London, 1989, n. 106. Exhibition Catalogue, Exhibition of Etchings and Lithography by Miss Sylvia Gosse, A.R.E., P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London 1925. In this etching, Gosse depicts a man nicknamed ‘Old Heffel’, who was presumably beggar fiddler. Walter Sickert made a series of paintings and etchings c. 1916–19 of the same man, including Old Heffel of Rowton House c.1916 (Dunedin Public Art Gallery, reproduced in W. Baron, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings, London 2006, no.457.1). Gosse probably drew Old Heffel in one of the Rowton House hostels, which had been set up in the late nineteenth century by the philanthropist Lord Rowton to house working men. One of the hostels, Arlington House, was built in 1905 in Camden Town; it is likely that this is the location depicted.  In 1909, Sylvia Gosse began studying etching after meeting Walter Sickert. She was taught by him first at the Westminster Technical Institute and then at his new etching school at 209 Hampstead Road which soon expanded the curriculum to include drawing and painting. She began teaching at the school in 1910 when she also became a partner there (it was renamed the ‘Sickert and Gosse School of Painting and Etching’). Sylvia’s style was hugely influenced by Sickert; she adopted his choices of subject matter and working practices.  In 1926, Gosse was elected a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers. There are collections of her prints and drawings in the British Museum, London and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.   W. Baron, Sickert, Paintings & Drawings, London, 2006, pp. 432-433.  M. Parkin, Sylvia Gosse 1881-1968, Paintings and Prints, London, 1989.  Sylvia Gosse, The Old Violinist, c.1918-19, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012.
Walter Richard Sickert
L’armoire à Glace
Size of plate: 28.2 x 17 cm. Size of sheet: 38 x 26.5 cm.
The Fine Art Society, London, 2008. An open door leads us toward an intimate space where a woman is sitting next to a mirrored wardrobe, the armoire à glace of the title, that reflects part of the bed in the room. The model is Sickert’s loyal maid, the French Marie Pepin. With an inscription on the bottom right of the sheet, the artist himself reveals that the scene was depicted in Rue Aguado, in the Dieppe flat alongside the Normandy seashore, where he lived as a lessee between 1920-1922. Such subject can be considered the French counterpart of the Londoners’ working-class domestic interiors represented by the Sickert during his Camden Town period. After this etching and several preparatory drawings, in 1924 Sickert painted a finished oil on canvas of the same name (London, Tate Collections, inv. N05313), which features only a few differences compared to our print.
Lettered within image "St. 1922." (at lower left corner) and "Rue Aguado -" (lower right corner), beneath image "Sickert inv del et sc." (lower left, immediately beneath image) and "L'ARMOIRE A GLACE" (centre). Signed in pencil below the platemark (lower right corner). Inscribed in pencil Mon rêve ça a toujours été d’avoiur une armoire à glace! (My dream has always been to have a mirrored wardrobe). Bromberg records other impressions in the first state that bear an identical inscription (Bromberg p. 251). Literature: Bromberg 200, III/III.
James Abbott Mcneill Whistler
Sketch after Cecil Lawson's 'Swan and Iris'
Size of plate: 13.4 x 8.3 cm. Size of sheet: 31.5 x 23 cm.
Etching and drypoint in brown ink.
Literature: Kennedy 241; Mansfield 238; Glasgow 247 VI/VI. Aside from the edition of Cecil Lawson, a Memoir (London, 1883) by E. W. Gosse. 'It is evident that Mr. Whistler and the Japanese were engaging [Lawson's] thoughts about this time [...]. The same tendency is visible in an extremely fine composition which he never finished, a swan startled under Old Battersea Bridge [...]. Of this Mr. Whistler has very kindly made an etching for the present memoir.' (Gosse, p. 21-23). The print is after an unfinished painting by Cecil Gordon Lawson (1851-1882), Whistler's brother-in-law. The copper plate is lost.
Walter Richard Sickert
That Boy of Mine Will Ruin Me
Size of sheet: c. 35.5 x 30.5 cm.
Black chalk, pen and ink and wash. Squared for transfer in white chalk.
Dr Robert Emmons; H. E. du Plessis; Browse and Delbanco, London, 1963; Davis & Long Company, New York; Mr & Mrs Richeson Jr.; The Fine Art Society, London, 1988; Bonham’s Sale, Modern Pictures, 20 September 2011, London, Knightsbridge, lot 211; Christie’s Sale, Modern British and Irish Art, 21 March 2013, London, South Kensington, lot 30.
Signed in red ink (lower right) and inscribed That boy of mine will ruin me (lower centre). Literature: R. Emmons, The Life & Opinions of Walter Richard Sickert, London, 1941, p. 200, illustrated; Baron 2006, n. 394.1, pp. 395-396, illustrated on p. 396. A half recumbent man appears unconscious in the foreground, possibly in the middle of a binge. An aged woman – perhaps the boy’s mother – is sitting on a bed behind him. Through the inscription “That boy of mine will ruin me”, Sickert gives voice to her concerns. The drawing is related to the painting That boy will be the death of me (Private Collection, Baron 2006, no. 394). The fact that it is squared for transfer suggests that this is probably also its final study.