WALTER SICKERT 1860-1942
Femme de Lettres 1913/14
Charcoal 15 ¼ x 16 inches (38.7 x 40.6 cm)
Inscribed and Signed b.r.
Sir Hugh Walpole; J.S. Wright Sale; Christie's, London, 21 May 1954 (20); with Roland, Browse and Delbanco, London, 1958 M.F. Williams; Dennis Matthews; Miss Bertha J. MacLennan; Private Collection.
Sickert, Arts Council, London 1960 (no.129, lent by Miss Bertha J. MacLennan)
Anthony Bertram, Sickert, London 1955 pl.18; Wendy Baron, Sickert, Paintings & Drawings, New Haven & London 2006 no.401 repr..
Signed and inscribed 'Wellington House Hampd Rd/Sickert' (lower right) 'Ethel Sands told me that Gilman modelled for the male figure; she felt it would be improper to tell me who modelled for the girl sitting on his lap. Bromberg, in discussing the meaning of the title, suggested that the "letters" in question may have been a pun for "French letters". I believe the allusion was more direct, if a trifle ironic, and that the model was Enid Bagnold, in 1912 not only a pupil of Sickert at Rowlandson House but a journalist writing for Hearth and Home, which was edited by the notorious philanderer Frank Harris (to whom she lost her heart and her virginity). The girl in Femme de Lettres resembles Miss Bagnold.' (Wendy Baron, Sickert, Paintings & Drawings, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2006 no.401).