Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)

Head of a Girl (Edie McNeill)

Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)
Head of a Girl (Edie McNeill)
signed 'John' (centre right)
red and black chalk
12¾ x 9½ in. (32.4 x 24.2 cm.)
Executed in 1906
Julian Lousada, thence by descent.
London, Royal Academy, Works by Augustus John, O.M., R.A., March-June 1954, no.94, p.39 (illustrated).
Sheffield, Graves Art Gallery, Augustus John, O.M., R.A., 1956, no.75.
London, Royal Academy, Bicentenary Exhibition 1768-1968, December 1968-March 1969, no.636, p.90 (illustrated).
Cardiff, National Museum and Gallery, Themes and Variations: the Drawings of Augustus John 1901-1931, July-September 1996; no.25: this exhibition travelled to London, Spink & Son, September-October 1996; and Conwy, Royal Cambrian Academy, November-December 1996.

Lot Essay

Edie McNeill joined Augustus John and her sister Dorelia after Ida had died in 1907. She helped with the children and took charge of the kitchen at Alderney Manor. Michael Holroyd (Augustus John The New Biography, London, 1996, pp.366-67) describes her as 'Small, with black-brown hair and large brooding eyes, their upper lids curiously straight giving them a strange rectangular shape. Her mouth was rather prominent, curving downwards, and her expression sardonic yet vulnerable - an index of her life to come'.

She later married John's friend Francis Macnamara. (see R. John, National Museum and Gallery Exhibition Catalogue, Cardiff, 1996, p.42).

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