PLATH (SYLVIA) "Daddy & his nurse - Oct.7, 1940 by Sylvia", two pencil drawings depicting Sylvia's father Otto lying with an outsized swollen foot in his sick bed, whilst a nurse approaches, [7 October 1940]
Lot 303
PLATH (SYLVIA)
"Daddy & his nurse - Oct.7, 1940 by Sylvia", two pencil drawings depicting Sylvia's father Otto lying with an outsized swollen foot in his sick bed, whilst a nurse approaches, [7 October 1940]
Sold for £ 3,750 (US$ 5,031) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Property of Frieda Hughes
PLATH (SYLVIA) "Daddy & his nurse - Oct.7, 1940 by Sylvia", two pencil drawings depicting Sylvia's father Otto lying with an outsized swollen foot in his sick bed, whilst a nurse approaches, [7 October 1940]
PLATH (SYLVIA)
"Daddy & his nurse - Oct.7, 1940 by Sylvia", two pencil drawings depicting Sylvia's father Otto lying with an outsized swollen foot in his sick bed, whilst a nurse approaches, on one sheet of paper, captioned in pencil by Sylvia's mother Aurelia (who has also added the words "his foot" to one drawing), and with Sylvia's autograph note on reverse headed "Sylvia Need to Study" above a list of six subjects ("Arithmetic", "Writing", "Paino" [sic], "Darwing" [sic], "History", and "Geography", the spelling errors corrected by her mother), 225 x 150mm., [7 October 1940]

Footnotes

  • "DADDY & HIS NURSE - OCT. 7, 1940": AN EXTRAORDINARILY POIGNANT DRAWING BY THE SEVEN-YEAR OLD SYLVIA PLATH, depicting her father Otto on his death bed, shown with an enormously outsized foot. In August Otto had stubbed his toe and having subsequently developed pneumonia, and with the onset of gangrene, he was admitted to Winthrop Hospital, after which he was sent home for to be tended by a nurse. Whilst her brother Warren was sent away, Sylvia was allowed to remain at home. The nurse cut down an old nursing uniform for Sylvia, who acted as her assistant and "could bring Daddy fruit or cool drinks now and then, along with drawings she made for him, which gave him some cheer" (Letters Home, introduction by Aurelia Plath).

    On 12 October, just five days after Sylvia's drawing is dated, his left leg was amputated above the knee, leading to his death on 5 November 1940. The impact of this event was, of course, to have an enormous influence over the life and poetry of Sylvia. On being told of her father's death she exclaimed "I'll never speak to God again", and 20 years to the day after the amputation she wrote her celebrated poem 'Daddy'. Another juvenile drawing by her (dated 20 February 1940) is reproduced in The Letters of Sylvia Plath, vol. 1, Faber, 2017.
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