N03174 A LADY READING c. 1898–1900
Canvas, 15 7/8×10 (40·5×25·5).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1917.
Coll: An anonymous member of the C.A.S. Committee who presented it to the Society in 1911.
Exh: C.A.S., Loan Exhibition, Manchester, winter 1911 (96); C.A.S., Loan Collection of Modern Paintings, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, October 1912 (128); C.A.S., First Public Exhibition in London, Goupil Gallery, April 1913 (71), as ‘Interior’; C.A.S., Purchases and Gifts, 53 Grosvenor Street, June 1914 (11a); C.A.S., Modern Paintings, Belfast, November 1914 (22).
Repr: Burlington Magazine, LXXXI, 1942, p.239, pl.2b; John Russell, From Sickert to 1948, 1948, pl.19; Allan Gwynne-Jones, Portrait Painters, 1950, pl.134.
It is generally accepted by those who knew Gwen John that this is an early self-portrait and was painted in Paris. Gwen John painted several pictures of this room and the wicker chair. A very similar picture was in the Quinn Collection and in it the sitter is turned more towards the window and wears a bow in her hair (sold American Art Association, New York, 11 February 1927, lot 465, repr. p.183). Mrs Frances Cornford of Cambridge owns a small interior painted in the same room with the artist sitting in the chair (exhibited N.E.A.C., spring 1908 (109), as ‘La Chambre sur le Cour’); ‘A Corner of the Artist's Room in Paris’, 1900–5 (?), is reproduced by John Rothenstein, Modern British Painters: Sickert to Smith, 1952, pl.18. Note the pictures of cats on the wall of N03174 and see N05154, N05155 and T00156.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I