The Camden Town Group in Context

ISBN 978-1-84976-385-1

Malcolm Drummond Woman Sewing ?c.1920s

Malcolm Drummond 'Woman Sewing' ?c.1920s
Malcolm Drummond 1880–1945
Woman Sewing ?c.1920s
Graphite on sketchbook paper
174 x 227 mm
Tate Archive TGA 8915
Purchased from Joyce Mills, September 1989
© Estate of Malcolm Drummond
Edgar Degas 'Woman at a Window' 1871–2
Edgar Degas
Woman at a Window 1871–2
The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
Photo © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London
This pencil sketch depicts a woman sitting on a sofa, possibly sewing, with a vase of daffodils behind her and a small table with a box and what might be a small vase in front. The sitter is partially framed against the light from the window beyond. The inspiration for this contre-jour effect may have come from a painting by Edgar Degas, Woman at a Window 1871–2 (fig.1), which Drummond might have seen in the collection of his friend Walter Sickert. Degas’s picture presents a woman sitting at the same angle with her features silhouetted by the window behind.
Much of the drawing uses diagonal lines of varying gradation to create a subtle tonal effect. The costume of the sitter and her setting are Edwardian in appearance. However, the rest of the sketchbook is full of a variety of subjects, including anatomical sketches, figure portraits, street and landscape views, depictions of Christian ceremonies, and representations of symbolic religious scenes. Drummond worked on two Church commissions for religious paintings in the 1920s; it is possible, therefore, that this sketchbook dates from that time. For more information on these religious works, see Drummond’s biography on this website. Another drawing from this sketchbook reproduced on this website is Beach or River Scene (TGA 8915).

Helena Bonett
June 2011

How to cite

Malcolm Drummond, Woman Sewing, ?c.1920s, in Helena Bonett, Ysanne Holt, Jennifer Mundy (eds.), The Camden Town Group in Context, Tate Research Publication, May 2012,, accessed 20 May 2024.