Edith Martineau’s Touching the Strings 1886. It’s available from the Maas Gallery here.


The Step-Dancer by Madeline Green (1884-1947) who ‘lived and painted for most of her life in Ealing, West London. She was a loner, not belonging to any group or school. From her isolated world in Ealing, where she lived unmarried for most of her working life, she projected herself through her pictures, role-playing variously as a mother and a wife, as a costermonger, as a dancer, as sinner and saint – or simply in a variety of different costumes and hats, open-mouthed and staring directly out of her pictures. With Britain still at war, military subjects and portraiture dominated the Royal Academy in 1918. Amongst them was shown Madeline Green’s self portrait as a step dancer, which, by contrast, was ‘an image of optimism’ according to Nina Edwards, who recently illustrated it in her fashion history Dressed for War, describing the “striped green silk taffeta iridescent harem trousers … [and] a white blouse rather low-necked and feminine, in soft Pierrot- like folds”. In 1918, trousers on women, especially stylish pantaloons like these, were considered daring, enough at least for this painting to be satirised by Punch in a cartoon that year’ (Maas Gallery).


Ethel Gabain (1883-1950), who was half French, studied at the Slade and in Paris and was a well known lithographer who did not exhibit her first oil painting until 1927, when she was 44. This painting, of Carmen Watson, was exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1936. More details here.


Portrait Sketch by Louise Joplin (1843-1933), details here and here (it’s number 23 in the catalogue).


The Maas Gallery (here) has a selling exhibition called simply Women: another wish list this week and why is that our favourites are so often the most expensive?!  This is George Winchester Waiting for the Artist 1859, full of the most glorious and fascinating detail.

Lytton Strachey 1914 by Henry Lamb 1883-1960

And finally, Henry Lamb’s 1912 portrait of Lytton Strachey which is in the Tate. It was painted at the Vale of Health in Hampstead and here is Hans Schwarz’s painting of the house in which Lamb had his studio; it was demolished in 1964 and replaced by the absolutely hideous Spencer House. (And here are details of how the name Vale of Health came about – it seems originally to have been a clever marketing ploy.)

1930. Waugh

Henry Lamb’s famous portrait of Evelyn Waugh is in the Salisbury Museum exhibition. It’s 1930, Waugh was 27, and the painting is rather poignant because Waugh became such a grumpy old man, here all is before him.


Study of Men in RAF Uniforms is a small watercolour (£2650 if not sold). And it is a tribute to the extraordinary fly-past over London yesterday. But what a genius Henry Lamb was. This is Schubertian (the greatest tribute in our book).


This is extraordinary: the Behrend Family 1927, watercolour on paper. It was the sketch for what became an oil painting that is now in Brighton. Mary and Louis Behrend were great patrons of the arts and in particular encouraged Stanley Spencer.


Henry Lamb (1883-1960) is a Persephone Books favourite, partly because of his famous portraits of Lytton Strachey and Evelyn Waugh and partly because – well, his work is superb. There is an exhibition in Salisbury until September, details here, and a selling exhibition which finished yesterday at Messums in Wiltshire. As with the posters last week, we shall indulge in some fantasy buying. Village Scene, possibly Coombe Bissett is an (undated) watercolour that was on sale (but must have sold) for £2650.

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59 Lamb's Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB