Walter Richard Sickert

Dieppe, Study No. 2; Facade of St Jacques

c.1899

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Walter Richard Sickert 1860–1942
Medium
Carbon paper tracing and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 323 x 234 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by Lady Henry Cavendish-Bentinck 1940
Reference
N05094

Catalogue entry

Entry

The fourteenth-century church of St Jacques, which stands to the west of the harbour and south of the Place Nationale in Dieppe, was Sickert’s most frequently depicted subject. He portrayed it from various angles and in different lights, painting variously on canvas, panel and board, as well as in numerous related drawings and sketches on paper (although, perhaps surprisingly, no prints). Although his use of the church as a motif spans from the early 1890s to the early 1930s,1 the majority of images date from 1899–1900 when Sickert was a permanent resident in the town.2 It also formed the subject of one of six large-scale canvases commissioned in 1902 by the owner of the Hôtel de la Plage in Dieppe, Monsieur Mantren, as decorations for his restaurant (private collection).3 Tate’s drawing depicts the western façade of the church from the Rue Saint-Jacques with part of the Hôtel du Commerce and a small circular kiosk visible in the background to the left, a compositional arrangement which closely reflects several oil paintings including the 1902 café version.4 The most fully realised version is The Façade of St Jacques, Dieppe c.1899–1900 (fig.1),5 which shows the same view enclosed on the left by a flanking wall. Although each individual rendering of the theme is slightly different, a unifying aspect is Sickert’s interest in the effects of light upon the dramatic Gothic architecture, and in particular the tonal contrast between the bottom half of the church, plunged into shadow by the surrounding streets, and the top half, drenched in evening sunlight.

Nicola Moorby
September 2009

Notes

1
See Wendy Baron, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings, New Haven and London 2006, no.87 and no.539.
2
Ibid., nos.130–4.
3
Reproduced ibid., no.130.10 and Sickert: Paintings, exhibition catalogue, Royal Academy, London 1992 (30).
4
See Baron 2006, nos.130.5, 131.2, 131.3, 131.4.
5
Ibid., no.130.
6
Walter Sickert, letter to Mrs Humphrey; quoted in Baron 2006, [p.37].
7
Quoted ibid., p.39.
8
Ibid., p.39 and p.236 under nos.125.10–12.
9
Ibid., nos.134–134.4.
10
Ibid., no.134; reproduced at British Council, http://collection.britishcouncil.org/collection/artist/5/17966/object/44158/, accessed September 2009 (reproduced wrong way round).
11
See Baron 2006, no.132; reproduced in Walter Sickert: ‘drawing is the thing’, exhibition catalogue, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester 2004 (3.02).
12
Baron 2006, no.133.2; reproduced at http://cybermuse.gallery.ca/cybermuse/search/artwork_e.jsp?mkey=4190, accessed September 2009.
13
See a watercolour in the Museum of New Zealand, http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?oid=39469&page=15&imagesonly=true, accessed September 2009.
14
See John Willett, Anna Gruetzner Robins and Sophie Bowness, The Dieppe Connection: The Town and its Artists from Turner to Braque, exhibition catalogue, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery (17, reproduced).
15
Ibid. (54, reproduced).

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