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Sickert made sketches for this work in 1922 while he was living and working in Dieppe, but began this painting back in London. The model was Marie Pepin, whom he had employed as a maidservant since 1911. The French title means 'wardrobe with mirror', and prioritises the wardrobe rather than the woman who is seated in the background. Sickert described the scene as 'a sort of study á la [the novelist] Balzac. The little lower middle-class woman... sitting by the wardrobe which is her idol and bank, so devised that the overweight of the mirror-door would bring the whole structure down on her if it were not temporarily held back by a wire.'

August 2004