BROOKE, RUPERT (1887-1915)
PORTRAIT BY SHERRILL SCHEEL (1877-1964), vintage silver print, showing Brooke half length, facing the camera, his left hand showing in the lower left-hand corner, framed and glazed, size of image 7 ¾ x 6 ½ inches (20 x 16.5 cm), c. 13 ¾ x 11 ½ inches (35 x 29.5 cm) [Brooke's flat in St George's Square, Pimlico, April 1913]
The American photographer, Sherill Scheel, is perhaps the finest portraitist of Rupert Brooke, his famous profile of the poet being reproduced as the frontispiece of 1914 and Other Poems and made into a medallion by Harvard Thomas for Rugby School. That portrait was described by Brooke's Cambridge friends as of 'Your favourite actress.' It was Francis Meynell who suggested that Scheel should photograph 'the beautiful Rupert Brooke.'
Scheel described Brooke as: 'dressed in a suit of homespun, with a blue shirt and blue necktie. The tie was a curious affair, a long piece of silk wide enough for a muffler, tied like the ordinary four-in-hand. On any other person this costume would have seemed somewhat outré, but in spite of its carefully studied effect it gave him no touch of eccentricity...His face was more remarkable for its expression and colouring than for its modelling. His complexion was not the ordinary pink and white...The lines of his face were not faultless...he had narrowly escaped being snubnosed.'
No example of this image is on the National Portrait Gallery web site, though others from the same shoot are there.
REFERENCES: Malcolm Rogers, Camera Portraits, 1989; The Letters of Rupert Brooke, edited by Sir Geoffrey Keynes, 1968; John Lehman, Rupert Brooke, 1980.
- Please note that the name of the photographer should read Sherrill Schell, and not Scheel (as stated in the catalogue). This lot is incorrectly marked 'AR' in the printed catalogue, and is not subject to Artists' Resale Right.