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Amelia Earhart (1898-1937) was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She landed in northern Ireland in May 1932, but this depicts her arrival in a thunderstorm at Hanworth, near London, the following day, where she was greeted by crowds of spectators. Earhart can be glimpsed in the middle distance of the right-hand side of the picture. Sickert based this painting on a newspaper photograph, from which he squared up the image. It took him only five days to complete, and itself aroused much public interest when it was exhibited soon afterwards.

August 2004