Tea with Sickert is painted on a commercially primed, fine-linen canvas supplied by the artists’ colourmen L. Cornelissen. The canvas was supplied stretched and prepared with size and a thin off-white primer, which is probably oil-based. [t] Sands initially marked out the outline of the composition in a diluted oil paint applied with a fine brush. She used a brown-coloured paint to outline the figure of the woman, her clothing and the furniture and a blue/green-coloured paint to mark out the furniture. Working within the outlines, she laid in a very thin, dilute paint with rapid, broken brushstrokes, leaving the ground visible between strokes as a base colour. This initial stage of painting is still visible in the more sketchy areas of the upper half, such as the figure of Sickert and his chair. After the lean blocks of colour were laid in, detail was added with thicker, more medium-rich paint, using a loaded square-tipped brush and forming impasto peaks. These colours were often applied either in parallel brushstrokes denoting straight lines, such as the table at the centre, or descriptive rounded strokes denoting curves, such as the hat in the foreground. Finally, the white highlights were added and the painting was left unvarnished.
How to cite
Annette King, 'Technique and Condition', November 2004, in Nicola Moorby, ‘Tea with Sickert c.1911–12 by Ethel Sands’, catalogue entry, August 2003, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/ethel-sands-tea-with-sickert-r1139308, accessed 08 May 2021.