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Born in London, the daughter of a barrister and a painter, Janet Cree attended the Byam Shaw School of Art from 1928 to 1933. In her postgraduate year there, Cree painted this work, which was shown in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and bought for the Tate Gallery by the Chantrey Bequest Trustees. The sitter was a professional model and the portrait is cast in the format of an Italian fifteenth-century picture, where the figure is seen and behind a low stone sill. Cree gave up painting in the late 1930s to concentrate on her family, but resumed her career again in 1967, showing in several exhibitions in London and Sussex.

September 2004