F. Derwent Wood

Bess Norriss


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Not on display
F. Derwent Wood 1871–1926
Object: 343 x 267 x 254 mm
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1926

Catalogue entry

N04195 BESS NORRISS 1921–2

Not inscribed.
Bronze, 13 1/2×10 1/2×10 (34×26·5×25·5).
Chantrey Purchase from the artist 1926.
Exh: R.A., 1922 (1394), as ‘Mrs Bess Norris-Tait’; Leicester Galleries, April–May 1926 (23), as ‘Portrait Bust’; Works by the late Sir Hamo Thornycroft, R.A., and F. Derwent Wood, R.A., R.A., winter 1927 (47).
Repr: Connoisseur, LXXV, 1926, p.255.

Bess Norriss, watercolourist and miniature painter, was born in Melbourne in 1878 and studied at the National Gallery School, Melbourne. She came to London in 1905 and worked at the Slade School. In the same year she married James Nevin Tait, the managing director of J. C. Williamson Theatres Ltd. She exhibited at the Royal Academy, Paris Salon, International Society and elsewhere, and a large one-man show of her work was held at Walker's Galleries in 1938. She died in London in 1939.

The sitter was a long-standing friend of the sculptor and the bust was done as a token of friendship in either 1921 or early 1922. Another bronze cast is in the possession of James Nevin Tait, who presented a further cast to the National Art Gallery, Melbourne, c. 1923–4.

The artist had already shown a plaster bust of the same sitter with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Grafton Galleries, 1912 (163).

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

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