Simon Bussy 1870-1954
N06015 Lady Ottoline Morrell
Inscribed 'Simon | Bussy' b.r.
Oil on canvas, 12 ¼ x 11 ½ (31 x 29)
Presented by Clive Bell and Duncan Grant 1951
Prov: Clive Bell and Duncan Grant, Charleston (purchased from the artist 1947)
Lit: Robert Gathorne-Hardy (ed.), Ottoline: The Early Memoirs of Lady Ottoline Morrell (London 1963), p.238
Repr: Quentin Bell, Bloomsbury (London 1968), p.36
Lady Ottoline Morrell, née Cavendish (1873-1938), half-sister of the sixth Duke of Portland. After her marriage to Philip Morrell, a Liberal Member of Parliament, in 1902, she created a salon at her house in Bedford Square which was frequented by many famous writers and artists including Bertrand Russell, Henry James, W.B. Yeats, Henry Lamb, Augustus John and the members of the Bloomsbury circle. Later, at the manor house at Garsington in Oxfordshire, her numerous guests also included Aldous Huxley, D.H. Lawrence and Mark Gertler.
Lady Ottoline recorded in her memoirs, without any clear indication of the year, that 'Simon Bussy, the French painter, a brother-in-law of Lytton Strachey, came to do a pastel sketch of me. Unfortunately, he found it impossible to accomplish and had to give it up.' Simon Bussy stated in a letter of June 1952 that this portrait of her was probably painted about 1920. It seems to have been done from memory as an almost caricature-like record of her somewhat eccentric appearance.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, pp.90-1, reproduced p.90