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Mary McEvoy (1871-1941) trained at the Slade School of Art, London, and is represented in the Tate Gallery's collection by a painting of a woman reading. She married the painter Ambrose McEvoy in 1902. She sat to Epstein for this portrait bust in 1909, and her family recall that it was modelled by candlelight as the electricity had been cut off. After the experience of modelling from Mary McEvoy using clay, Epstein decided to carve a bust of the same sitter in marble. This was bought by Johannesburg Art Gallery in 1910. Both the bronze and the marble busts capture the gentle strength of the sitter.

September 2004