N05627 MRS ROBERTS 1944
Inscr. ‘Gowing 44’ b.r.
Canvas, 16×20 (40·5×50·5).
Presented by the Contemporary Art Society 1945.
Exh: Leicester Galleries, March 1945 (56).
Repr: John Russell, From Sickert to 1948, 1948, pl.76.
The portrait was painted at 8 Paultons Square, Chelsea, where the artist was living in 1943–4. Mrs Ellen Roberts, aged forty, was his charwoman and he liked her resolute expression so much that he asked her to pose for him. When it was exhibited a photograph of her together with a reproduction of the picture appeared in the Daily Sketch, 10 March 1945. She said it was a little bewildering to find her blue-and-white spotted dress changed to green.
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I