Philip Alexius de László P.R.B.A., R.P., N.P.S. (1869-1937) Lt Colonel Charles à Court Repington C.M.G. 47.5 x 40.5 cm. (18 3/4 x 16 in.)
Lot 18
Philip Alexius de László P.R.B.A., R.P., N.P.S.
Lt Colonel Charles à Court Repington C.M.G. 47.5 x 40.5 cm. (18 3/4 x 16 in.)
Sold for £9,600 (US$ 12,711) inc. premium

Lot Details
Philip Alexius de László P.R.B.A., R.P., N.P.S. (1869-1937)
Lt Colonel Charles à Court Repington C.M.G.
signed and dated '1920 Easter' (lower right)
oil on panel
47.5 x 40.5 cm. (18 3/4 x 16 in.)


  • Provenance:
    The sitter
    Sold in the sale of the sitter's effects, 1925
    Private Collection, U.K.

    Washington, The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Paintings by Philip A de László, 26 February - 20 March 1921, no.16
    New York, M.Knoedler & Co., Paintings by Philip A de László, 4 - 16 April 1921, no.26

    Colonel Repington, The First World War 1914-1918, II volumes, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and New York, 1920
    Owen Rutter, Portrait of a Painter, Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1939, p.344
    De László Archive 048-0032, letter from Repington to de László, 8 April 1920
    De László Archive 048-0031, letter from Repington to de László, 26 April 1920

    According to Rutter (Op.cit.), de László's biographer, the present portrait was painted as a "souvenir" for the sitter, who was a friend of the artist. However, two letters from Colonel à Court Repington to the artist reveal that the sitter commissioned the present portrait to be used as a frontispiece of his diaries The First World War, 1914-1918:

    'I [...] want to know whether you can do a small sketch of me for reproduction as the frontispiece of my volumes on the war which are to appear in May or June. You will be able to judge waht is the best medium for a reproduction, whether black and white or what. Can I come to you any morning next week, as early as you like.' (DLA 048-0032, 8 April 1920)

    The inscription on Repington's portrait confirms that the sittings took place the following week, at Easter. However, the present portrait was not reproduced in the original edition of Repington's work, perhaps because his publisher was pressed for time:

    'When can I hope for the portrait, and when will the 6 photos come, for the Yankees are howling for them.' (DLA 048-0031, 26 April 1920)

    The sitter had been an enthusiast of de László's work ever since he visited his studio in 1915 to see the portrait of Mrs Leeds (later Princess Christopher of Greece), and his wartime diaries (Op.cit) are virtually punctuated with references to works by the artist which he admired. In December 1919, shortly before his own study portrait was executed, he had also commissioned a portrait of his dear friend Evelyn, Lady Downshire.

    Charles à Court Repington was born on 29th January 1858, the son of Emily Currie and Charles Henry Wyndham à Court, who later assumed the additional name of Repington. Educated at Eton and Sandhurst, he entered the Rifle Brigade in 1878. After serving in Afghanistan, Burma, the Sudan and in South Africa, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1898. From 1899-1902 he was Military Attaché to Brussels and The Hague. However, due to the scandal of his conducting an affair with the wife of a fellow officer in 1902, Repington had to resign his commission, and subsequently became a famous military correspondent for The Times during WWI, before his defection to The Morning Post in 1918, and later to the Daily Telegraph. A keen art collector, he counted several contemporary artists amongst his friends, including de László who is mentioned frequently in the sitter's Diary, The First World War, 1914-1918. It was Repington who first responded to William Rothenstein's idea of appointing an official war artist during WWI. He had a deserved reputation with the ladies as a bit of a beau sabreur and was admired by a host of fashionable beauties. In 1882 he married Mellony Katherine Scobell, with whom he had two daughters. The sitter died on 25th May 1925 in some considerable debt, occasioning the sale of all his possessions and his by then considerable art collection.

    We are grateful to Dr Caroline Corbeau for writing this catalogue entry. The present lot is to be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Raisonné of works by Philip de László being prepared by Sandra de Laszlo and Christopher Wentworth-Stanley.

    This work will be sold with copies of the two letters from the sitter to the artist quoted in the above notes.
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