Catalogue entry

N05855 THE BATHERS c. 1910–20

Inscr. ‘Ethel Walker’ b.r.
Pencil, pen, ink and watercolour, 26 3/4×42 3/4 (68×108·5).
Purchased from Miss Maud Elmer (Knapping Fund) 1948.
Coll: Professor Fred Brown, probably purchased from the artist; Miss Ellen Brown; Miss Maud Elmer.
Exh: Redfern Gallery, February 1927 (10), as ‘The Bathers’; Venice Biennale, 1930 (British Pavilion, 206); R.A., 1931 (934), as ‘The Picnic: decoration’; British Council, Modern British Water-colours, Sweden, 1943 (25); Ethel Walker, Frances Hodgkins, Gwen John, Tate Gallery, May–June 1952 (37), and Arts Council tour, 1952 (36).

In some areas (for example where the sea is breaking on the shore) the surface of the paper has been torn away to create a textural effect. On the left, in the group of seated nude bathers, the two on the right have been added and are done on a separate piece of paper stuck on to the support.

On the verso is a pen and ink and wash sketch, partially destroyed ( 1/4 in. on the right is missing), which agrees in most details with the finished composition on the recto.

Another, apparently later watercolour of this subject, more finished and with minor variations in composition, was lent to the 1952 memorial exhibition at the Tate Gallery (42) by Mrs P. M. Douglas; it is signed and dated 1923.

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