Duncan Grant
The Queen of Sheba 1912

Artwork details

Duncan Grant 1885–1978
The Queen of Sheba
Date 1912
Medium Oil paint on plywood
Dimensions Support: 1200 x 1200 mm
frame: 1335 x 1338 x 100 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1917
Not on display

Display caption

Grant painted this in the spring of 1912 as part of an abortive decorative scheme for Newnham College, Cambridge. His cousin, Pernel Strachey, had been a student there and later became its Principal. Grant based the Queen of Sheba on Pernel Strachey, and King Solomon upon her brother, Grant’s great friend the writer Lytton Strachey. Lytton had a long square-cut auburn beard at this time, and Grant gives this physical attribute to King Solomon. Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet had been giving performances in London and Grant’s costumes probably owe a debt to this Russian influence. Also Karl Goldmark’s opera The Queen of Sheba was premièred in London in the winter of 1911.

February 2010

About this artwork