Catalogue entry

N03174 A LADY READING c. 1898–1900
 
Not inscribed.
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.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I