N04448 STUDY FOR MADAME SUGGIA c. 1920
Inscr. ‘John’ b.r.
Charcoal on grey paper, 18 1/2×12 1/2 (47×32).
Purchased from the French Gallery (Duveen Drawings Fund) 1929.
Repr: Browse, 1941, pl.52; John O'London's Weekly, LVIII, 26 March 1954, p.309.
At least three drawings of Mme Suggia are known to exist. It is unlikely that this particular drawing is a sketch for the Tate Gallery picture; Mme Suggia said that John abandoned an earlier portrait in which the 'cellist looks over her left shoulder, and this drawing is most probably a preliminary sketch for that portrait. The other two drawings used to belong to Mme Suggia herself, who on her death bequeathed them to Hugo Pitman. One of them (c. 1920) is almost an exact replica of the Tate Gallery drawing and both were most likely shown at the National Portrait Society's exhibition in the Grafton Galleries, 1921–2 (272 and 273). The third drawing, in which the 'cellist looks over her right shoulder, is obviously of a later date (c. 1923), and from the inscription at the bottom of the paper it was very likely given to Mme Suggia by the artist himself after the portrait was completed. Both the drawings belonging to Mme Suggia were reproduced by her agents in concert bills.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I