Stephen Tomlin

Lytton Strachey

1928–30

Artist
Stephen Tomlin 1901–1937
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
Object: 420 x 240 x 220 mm, 15.5 kg
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Brinsley Ford (later Sir Brinsley Ford) 1932
Reference
N04616

Not on display

Display caption

The British artist Stephen Tomlin was closely associated with the circle of writers and artists known as the Bloomsbury Group. In 1928 he married the niece of the critic and biographer Lytton Strachey (1880-1932), one of the leading figures of the Bloomsbury Group, whose book called Eminent Victorians drily exposed the hypocrisies of the Victorian era. Strachey commissioned Tomlin to make this bust, and wrote: ‘I sit all day to Tommy, who is creating what appears to me a highly impressive, repulsive, and sinister object.’ Tomlin’s portrait suggests the writer’s combination of sagacity and diffidence.

Stephen Tomlin was born in 1901 in London, where he died in 1937.

Gallery label, August 2004

Catalogue entry

N04616 LYTTON STRACHEY 1928–30

Not inscribed.
Bronze, 18×10×10 7/8 (46×25·5×28).
Presented by Brinsley Ford 1932.

Coll: Purchased by Brinsley Ford from the Leicester Galleries 1930.

Lit: R. F. Harrod, The Life of John Maynard Keynes, 1951, p.191.

Lytton Strachey commissioned Tomlin to make this portrait bust in 1928 and made him an advance payment of £30 in December the same year. It was presumably completed in 1929 or '30 as Brinsley Ford bought the cast now in the Tate, which was the second of an edition of three, in April 1930. The cast which belonged to Lytton Strachey was later owned by Miss Philippa Strachey and is inscribed on the base ‘ST [in monogram] III’. A third cast in lead was acquired by David Garnett about 1930.

For a biographical note on Lytton Strachey see Henry Lamb, T00118.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, II

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