Sir George Clausen

The Girl at the Gate


In Tate Britain

Sir George Clausen 1852–1944
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 1714 × 1384 mm
frame: 2200 × 1870 × 215 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1890

Display caption

Clausen painted this picture in the village of Cookham Dean in Berkshire, where he lived. His model was Mary Baldwin, the Clausen family nanny. She was from the village and around 16 years old at the time. Clausen was one of the ‘rural naturalists’, a group of late 19th-century artists who painted scenes of country life. They were known for their realistic depictions of rural workers. Many of the group were influenced by the French painter Jules Bastien-Lepage. They often developed their style while living and working together in international artists’ communities.

Gallery label, April 2021

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Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘G. Clausen 1889’ b.r.
Canvas, 67 1/2×54 1/2 (171·5×138·5).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1890.
Exh: Grosvenor Gallery, summer 1890 (51).
Lit: Claude Phillips, ‘The Summer Exhibitions at Home and Abroad’ in Art Journal, 1890, pp.170–1, 293, repr. p.167; D[yneley] H[ussey], George Clausen, 1923, pp.16, 22; J. B. Manson, The Tate Gallery, 1929, p.124, repr. pl.19 (in colour).
Repr: Tate Gallery Illustrations, 1928, pl.68.

Painted in 1889 at Cookham Dean, Berkshire, where the artist was then living at Grove House. The model was Miss Mary Baldwin, aged about fifteen or sixteen, a nursemaid to the Clausen family. She died in 1958. The cottage was near the artist's home and the old couple in the background lived in two cottages opposite. (Letters from Dr R.J. Clausen, 20 March 1954, and Miss Mary Baldwin, 22 March 1954.) The same model appears in ‘The Stone Pickers’ of 1887. In a letter to the Gallery (23 February 1935) the artist wrote of ‘The Girl at the Gate’ that it ‘is not one which I should choose to represent my work now’, and no work earlier than 1904 is reproduced in Hussey's monograph.

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


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