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Through the poses of the figures and title, Sickert evokes the aftermath of a domestic row. The woman’s clasped hands and steady gaze suggest hurt emotions and resignation, while her husband takes refuge by leaving for the pub.

The male model is ‘Hubby’, whose real name is unknown. A reformed alcoholic, he joined Sickert in 1911 to help around the studio and modelled for a number of pictures. When Hubby turned to drink again in 1914, Sickert had to dismiss him. He wrote ‘It is like death, only worse, and I will miss his kind silly old face and his sympathetic pomposity’.

February 2004