(n/a) Augustus John O.M., R.A. (British, 1878-1961)
Lily in the Welsh hills signed 'John' (upper right) oil on canvas 76.5 x 46.5 cm. (30 x 18 1/4 in.)
Provenance: with Arthur Tooth & Sons Ltd, London, 18 July 1961, where purchased by the present owner
Exhibited: London, The Piccadilly Gallery, A Collection of oils, drawings and etchings, 1991, no.3 (ill.b&w) London, Olympia, Augustus John with his Family, February 1999
John made several trips to Wales between 1910 and 1913, often travelling with fellow artists J.D. Innes and Derwent Lees. The girl in this picture is Lily Ireland who John describes in his autobiography, 'Lily Ireland had never been out of London, and felt like a fish out of water in this wild place. She hankered after her native slum. It is true she recognised the sheep on the mountain-side, for she had seen similar animals in Hyde Park' (Augustus John, Chiaroscuro, p.224). In 1913 John painted several pictures of Lily in Tan-y-grisiau, a stop on the Ffestiniog railway in Snowdonia which was surrounded by steep mountains and rugged countryside. The present work shows Lily standing on a grassy hillside, wearing a green dress and purple shawl, her right arm akimbo, left hand on her stomach. In 2004 Tate Britain held a major retrospective of works by Augustus John and included another portrait of Lily, Lily at Tan-y-grisiau (The Orange Shawl), amongst its exhibits.
We are grateful to Rebecca John for her assistance with cataloguing this lot.