Ralph Peacock

Ethel

1897

On display at Tate Britain

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1327 x 740 mm
frame: 1584 x 1000 x 145 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1898
Reference
N01672

Display caption

This portrait was painted the year the Tate Gallery was founded, and proved to be one of the most popular pictures on these walls at the beginning of the 20th century. Peacock was the darling of art critics at the onset of his career, but he never reached fame. His model, Ethel Brignall, was fourteen when he painted her. He married her sister Edith a few years later. The wooden panelling in the background of this portrait was used as a backdrop in most of Peacock’s later portraits of children.

Gallery label, February 2016

Catalogue entry

N01672 ETHEL 1897

Inscr. ‘Ralph Peacock’ b.l.
Canvas, 52×29 (132×73·5).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1898.
Exh: R.A., 1898 (256).
Repr: Royal Academy Pictures, 1898, p.18; Art Journal, 1898, p.178; G. K. Chesterton, Famous Paintings, 1912, p.15 (in colour).

In the words of the sitter Mrs Ethel Titcomb, “Ethel” was painted by my brother-in-law Ralph Peacock in his studio at 11 Holland Park Road, Kensington, in the summer of 1897. I was 14 years old at the time.... I stayed with Ralph Peacock's parents, Mr and Mrs Thomas Peacock, in the summer holiday while the picture was being painted' (letter of 22 December 1958). See also N01772.

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

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