Walter Richard Sickert A.R.A. (British, 1860-1942) Woman Seated at a Window (Mornington Crescent) 52 x 40 cm. (20 1/2 x 15 3/4 in.) (Painted circa 1908-9)

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Lot 53*
Walter Richard Sickert A.R.A.
(British, 1860-1942)
Woman Seated at a Window (Mornington Crescent) 52 x 40 cm. (20 1/2 x 15 3/4 in.)

£ 150,000 - 250,000
US$ 200,000 - 330,000
Walter Richard Sickert A.R.A. (British, 1860-1942)
Woman Seated at a Window (Mornington Crescent)
signed 'Sickert' (lower right)
oil on canvas
52 x 40 cm. (20 1/2 x 15 3/4 in.)
Painted circa 1908-9


  • Provenance
    The Artist, from whom acquired by
    Sylvia Gosse
    Dr Robert Emmons, by 1941
    With Thomas Agnew & Sons, London
    With Roland, Browse & Delbanco, London, 1945
    E. Michael Behrens, 1947
    His sale; Christie's, London, 8 June 1990, lot 207
    Sale; Sotheby's, London, 3 December 1998, lot 50
    With Fine Art Society, London, 2000
    Private Collection, U.S.A., since 2011

    London, National Gallery, Sickert, 1941,, as Mornington Crescent
    London, Thomas Agnew & Sons, Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by W.R. Sickert from the Collection of Robert Emmons, May-June 1947,, as Granby Street
    Southampton, The Arts Council of Great Britain, Southampton Art Gallery, Festival of Britain: The Camden Town Group, 16 June-29 July 1951
    Edinburgh, Scottish Committee of the Arts Council of Great Britain, Diploma Galleries of the Royal Scottish Academy, An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Walter Sickert, January 1953,
    London, Arts Council of Great Britain, Tate Gallery, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings, 18 May-19 June 1960,; this exhibition travelled to Southampton, Southampton Art Gallery, 2-24 July and Bradford, Bradford City Art Gallery, 30 July-20 August
    London, Browse & Darby, Sickert, 25 November-22 December 1981,
    London, Browse & Darby, Sickert: With an Accent on the Theatre, 26 November-23 December 1992,
    London, The Fine Art Society, Walter Sickert: Paintings, Drawings and Prints, 8 May-15 June 2000,
    London, The Fine Art Society, Centenary Exhibition: The Camden Town Group, 15 June-16 July 2011, (as Seated Woman, Mornington Crescent)

    Lillian Browse, Sickert, Faber and Faber, London, 1943, pl.35
    Lillian Browse, Sickert, Hart-Davis, London, 1960, p.74, pl.57
    Sir John Rothenstein, Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), Beaverbrook Newspapers, London, 1961, pl.7
    Lilly Marjorie, Sickert: The Painter and His Circle, Elek Books, London, 1971, pl.37
    Wendy Baron, Sickert, Paintings & Drawings, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2006, p.371, (col.ill)

    Paintings of nudes in north London lodgings – to many the quintessential Sickert - formed a significant part of the artist's vocabulary for less than a decade. On his return to London in 1905 after six years based in France, Sickert campaigned in print and on canvas to rid British art of its hypocritical puritanism. He refused to invent implausible situations to lend respectability to his nudes. On the contrary his exploitation of the Camden Town Murder title and his repeated use of ill-favoured models, have deliberately encouraged squalid, if ambiguous, interpretations of their subject.

    Because of the relatively small number of nude subjects painted by Sickert between 1905 and 1914, each has special interest. The present painting has no narrative content. It is a celebration of the art of painting. The texture of the paint is succulent; the brushwork varies from little dots and dashes to broader more fluid patches and smears of opaque colour; although the overall tonality is dark, the colours are lively and diverse with rusty reds, sage greens, lilacs, pale blue and golden ochres among them. Sickert's model, a voluptuous beauty, is seated in his first floor studio at Mornington Crescent gazing out of the tall window so that the light falls obliquely onto her face and breasts, To Sickert, an erstwhile actor, his studios were stage settings. The items of furniture in his rented rooms were props which he used to establish the character of his interiors. In this painting Sickert banished the bed and associated bedroom furniture. His model sits on the end of a wooden-framed leather-covered daybed; an oval-backed chair is set at an angle to the window; the dusty Venetian blind is ousted in favour of light net curtains; the woman is looking beyond the ironwork balcony to the sunlit dappled trees in Mornington Crescent gardens (replaced in 1926 by the Egyptian style building for the Carreras cigarette factory which survives to this day). The only survivor from his more sordid Mornington Crescent interiors is the chamber pot lurking under the daybed.

    This painting has, since 1947, sometimes been mistakenly known as Granby Street where, from 1908 until 1914, Sickert had a studio. On its appearance at a Sotheby's sale in 1998, the catalogue tried to square the circle by stating that Mornington Crescent and Granby Street shared a corner. They don't. Moreover, Sickert's studio at no.6 was set within a terrace of houses. A fully-realised drawing of the figure in this painting (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester: Baron 2006, 353.1) is inscribed 'Mornington Crescent', an identification confirmed by the pattern of the ironwork on the balcony. The early ownership of this painting was particularly distinguished. Sickert gave it to his friend and disciple, the painter Sylvia Gosse. In due course it was acquired by his pupil and biographer Dr Robert Emmons.

    We are grateful to Dr. Wendy Baron for compiling this catalogue entry.
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