A chilling portrait by the British actress Linden Travers who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's 1939 classic, The Lady Vanishes, is for sale at Bonhams Gentleman's Library Sale on 18 January. It is estimated at £3,000-5,000.
The painting, The Death of a Gentleman shows a stylish man about town in top hat and opera cloak, his cane and gloves on the table before him surrounded by champagne, an Ascot Royal Enclosure badge, playing cards and bank notes. The gentleman is, however, a grinning corpse.
Travers, whose brother Bill was the star of the hugely popular film, Born Free, was a talented artist who for a while ran a gallery in London with her sisters. Her allegorical portrait has hints of the withering satire of the German Expressionists George Grosz and Otto Dix. It can be read both as a comment on vanity and the transience of pleasure and a wry observation on the stage door johnnies she would routinely have mixed with in the theatre and cinema industry. Painted in 1939, in the shadow of war, it can also be seen as a warning against the futility of fiddling while Rome burns.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
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