Sir Jacob Epstein 1880–1959
Object: 445 × 381 × 229 mm, 15.8 kg
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1922

Display caption

The sitter for this bust was Nan Condron, a professional artist’s model. Epstein first met her at the Café Royal in Regent Street, London and worked with her for several years. Condron was a bohemian and Epstein sought a likeness that was expressive of her character and presence as well as her appearance. Epstein grew up in New York, and studied in Paris before settling in London in 1905, where he became a media celebrity and one of the most controversial artists of his age.

Gallery label, October 2020

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Catalogue entry

N03646 NAN 1909
Not inscribed.
Bronze, 17 1/2×15×9 (44×38×23).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1922.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, February–March 1917 (8); Arts Council, Tate Gallery, September–November 1952 (3); Edinburgh Festival, August–September 1961 (14, repr. pl.4).
Lit: Van Dieren, 1920, p.72, repr. pl.21; Wellington, 1925, p.15, repr. pl.3; Haskell, 1931, p.166; Buckle, 1963, pp.41–2, 59, 88, 424, repr. pls.59, 60.
Repr: Black, 1942, pl.2; Epstein, 1955, facing p.38.

The sitter was Nan Condron, a gipsy and a professional model. She also posed for Orpen and Rothenstein, but, becoming devoted to Epstein, she gave up working for other artists for several years. He made a number of sculptures of her, including a small sketch for this work; an undraped version of the head only, formerly in the Eumorfopoulos Collection (repr. Van Dieren, op. cit., pl.49); a nude seated figure ‘Nan Seated’ of 1911, height 19 in. (repr. Buckle, op. cit., pls.84, 85); and a reclining nude called ‘The Dreamer’, also of 1911 and 11 in. high (repr. Buckle, op. cit., pls. 83, 86). Three drawings of her made in 1909–11 are reproduced in Epstein and Buckle, 1962, pls. 22–4.

The right ear-ring on this cast has been broken off.

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

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