William Logsdail (1859-1944)
William Logsdail (1859-1944)

Portrait of Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse in the artist's studio, Primrose Hill

Details
William Logsdail (1859-1944)
Portrait of Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse in the artist's studio, Primrose Hill
with inscription 'Manet' (lower right) and signed 'Logsdail pinxt' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas, unframed
23 ¾ x 19 in. (60.4 x 48.4 cm.)

Brought to you by

Clare Keiller
Clare Keiller

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Lot Essay

This recent rediscovery by William Logsdail gives us a rare and fascinating insight into the lives of the artists working in London at the end of the 19th century.

Primrose Hill Studios was a group of 12 houses purposely designed by Alfred Healey in 1877 in order to attract the bachelor artists of the day. With charming gabled, red-bricked exteriors the studios resembled cottages, yet they featured all the modern conveniences that an artist might need such as electricity and a lodge keeper and his wife, who supervised the cleaning and provided meals. A total of 39 artists worked at the Primrose Hill Studios from 1878-1899, including J.C. Dollman, John William Waterhouse and William Logsdail. Waterhouse moved to 3 Primrose Hill Studios in 1878 before transferring to number 6 in 1887, whilst Logsdail worked there at number 4 in 1882 and again from 1887 to 1892. The community spirit that the studios fostered was recalled by Logsdail, who remembered how the inhabitants ‘formed a happy family, in and out of each other’s studios during the day, and in the evening swapping stories over the cards and whisky or dining at “The Bull and Bush” on Hampstead Heath.’

The present work reflects something of that collaborative ethos with Logsdail depicting his fellow artist and friend Esther Kenworthy Waterhouse (1857-1944), who had married Waterhouse in 1883, dressed in white and wearing a fashionable peaked cap resting in one of the studios. Her informal pose and direct gaze testify to the intimacy between artist and sitter, whilst the props such as the artist’s folio propped up beside Esther’s chair, the paintings and prints adorning the walls and the fashionable blue and white ceramic plate ornamenting the grand fireplace not only underline the subject’s artistic credentials but also offer the viewer a glimpse into the private spaces of the creators of some of the most enduring images of the late Victorian era.

We are grateful to Peter Trippi and Robert Upstone for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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