This study is related to two pen and ink self-portraits made by Spencer in 1913 culminating in the oil Self-Portrait (Bell no. 17, Tate London) (fig. 1) painted in Cookham and completed in 1914. The present drawing differs from the other two ink drawings in being composed of fragments - hands and a portion of the face - while the other two show the whole head. The inclusion of the hands in the drawing may suggest that Spencer at one time contemplated a half-length oil self-portrait rather than the present head and shoulders composition of the Tate painting. Spencer recorded his first self-portrait Head in 1910 (Tate Spencer Archives, 733.3.1) and continued to use himself as a subject of both drawings and painting for the rest of his life. He learned the pen and ink technique with its use of heavy cross-hatching, similar to that of Old Master drawings, at the Slade School.
We are very grateful to Professor Keith Bell for preparing the catalogue entries for lots 114-117.