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

Portrait of Jessie McNeill

Details
Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)
Portrait of Jessie McNeill
signed 'John' (lower right)
pencil
13¼ x 9½ in. (33.6 x 24.1 cm.)
Executed circa 1907.
Provenance
Lady Mary Dunn, and by descent, from whom purchased by the present owner.
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Albany Bell

Lot Essay

The sitter in the present work is Jessie McNeill, sister of Dorelia McNeill. Dorelia, in early 1907, was living alone in Paris after leaving the ménage à trois she had shared with Augustus and Ida John. Jessie had come to help her look after her two young sons by John, and after Ida’s death in March that year accompanied Dorelia and Augustus to the Normandy coast for a holiday. Described that summer by Augustus as ‘the voluptuous Jessie’, there are drawings of her in the Manchester City Art Gallery, Head of a Girl, and in the Fitzwilliam Museum, titled Portrait of Mrs Slade, after she had married Edgar ‘Loben’ Slade, the District Engineer, Cambridge. A pen and ink portrait, Study of a Girl is comparable to the present work (whereabouts unknown).

Lady Mary Dunn (née. St. Clair-Erskine) married Sir Phillip Gordon Dunn on 19 July 1933, divorcing after ten years of marriage. After two subsequent marriages by Lady Mary, the couple later remarried in 1969. As a close friend of Sir Philip, Augustus John regularly frequented the Dunn residence in the South of France.

We are very grateful to Rebecca John for preparing this catalogue entry.

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