N04928 THE CHILDREN'S ORCHESTRA 1903–5
Inscr. ‘G. Coates’ b.r.
Canvas mounted on plywood, 32×35 5/4(81×91).
Presented by the artist's widow 1938.
Exh: Salon des Artistes Français, Paris, 1908 (406), as ‘Ritenuto’; Memorial Exhibition, New Burlington Galleries, May 1931 (127), as ‘The Children's Orchestra’.
Lit: Dora Meeson Coates, George Coates: His Art and his Life, 1937, pp.29–30, 36, 226, 228–9, 232, repr. facing p.32.
Painted at Ealing where the artist was living 1903–5. The models were local children; at first there were only one or two children, but the artist afterwards enlarged the group and instead of their ordinary clothes dressed them in lengths of coloured muslin. The picture is Whistlerian in technique and conception, and was partly inspired by the dark colouring of the dining-room at Ealing. The picture was finished at 9 Trafalgar Studios, Chelsea, and exhibited at the Paris Salon. The title was afterwards changed by the artist from ‘Ritenuto’ to the present one. For a long time the canvas, cut in two and partially painted out, lay rolled up in the studio; it was restored by the artist's widow Dora Meeson, who joined it together and wax-varnished it in time for the memorial exhibition. An oil sketch on millboard (12 3/4×15 1/2) belonged in April 1955 to the artist's niece, Mrs Cross.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I