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In the 1880s popular music halls sprang up in London and Paris and impressionist artists such as Edgar Degas and Walter Sickert began to paint the audiences and acts. Minnie Cunningham was a successful performer whom Sickert admired. He first exhibited this picture with the subtitle ‘I’m an old hand at love, though I’m young in years’, a quotation from one of her songs. Sickert gives us the point of view of an audience member and catches the strange effect of theatrical lighting.

February 2016