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


Augustus Edwin John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)
signed and dated 'John 1941' (centre right) and with inscription in the hand of Villiers David 'Augustus John drew this/portrait of himself on 10th September, 1941./It was a request of/mine, made eight/years ago./Villiers David.' (on a letter attached to the backboard).
14 x 9 7/8 in. (35.6 x 25.1 cm.)
Villiers David.
with Spink, London.
with The Lefevre Gallery, London, October 1996, where purchased by the present owner.
London, Olympia, Augustus John, 23-28 February 1999, no. 332.
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Lot Essay

John painted a number of self-portraits of himself throughout his life including a series of etchings. The expression adopted in the present drawing, executed when he was sixty-three, is perhaps best explained by the fact that he was increasingly deaf from an early age and gazed upon people and things with a frightening concentration, revealed physically by the sclerotal white continuously visible round the pupil.

The inscription found on the backboard of the present watercolour indicates that Villiers David (1906-1985) requested that John should paint this portrait in 1933, the year after John painted David's portrait, which now hangs in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
David was an artist, writer and poet, who became a keen collector of Occidental and Oriental art, and set up the Villiers David Foundation and the Villiers David Travel Award which funds young up-coming British artists.

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