N04098 MY MOTHER 1908
Inscr. ‘Ronald Gray’ b.r.
Canvas, 29×24 (74×61).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1925.
Exh: Modern Portrait Painters, R.I., February–March 1909 (1); Ronald Gray and Gilbert Spencer, Goupil Gallery, January 1923 (45); N.E.A.C. Retrospective Exhibition, January–February 1925 (182).
Repr: The Times, 11 January 1923.
The sitter was the second wife of James Gray and bore him twelve children (he had five by his first wife); her maiden name was Burrell and her people were farmers in Lincolnshire. She died in 1917 just before her ninetieth birthday. In his unpublished Memoirs compiled in 1943 the artist writes under the year 1908, f.197: ‘I had begun a portrait of mother. She was then over 80 years old, and I was anxious to finish it before leaving for America.... I hid the portrait, but Alfred Hayward came along and sent it to the Modern Portrait Painters Exhibition while I was in America. I was astonished at the good notices which were sent to me.’ (Typescript in the Tate Gallery library.)
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I