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Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)

The Fairy Tale

Details
Augustus John, O.M., R.A. (1878-1961)
The Fairy Tale
oil and pencil on panel
12 x 15½ in. (30.5 x 39.4 cm.)
Painted circa 1911.
Provenance
with Arthur Tooth and Sons, London, 1933.
Mrs J.B. Priestley.
Mr John Bryson, Oxford.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 17 June 1977, lot 21.
Brian Sewell, from whom purchased by the present owner.
Literature
Exhibition catalogue, Works by Augustus John, O.M., R.A., London, Royal Academy, 1954, p. 20, no. 218.
Exhibited
London, National Gallery, British Painting Since Whistler, March - August 1940.
London, Royal Academy, Works by Augustus John, O.M., R.A., March - June 1954, no. 218.
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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Lot Essay

John was always passionately interested in the Romany way of life and frequently travelled around the countryside of the United Kingdom and Europe with his first wife, Ida, his mistress Dorelia McNeill, and his children from both women. It seems likely that the right hand figure of the boy in The Fairy Tale is his son Robin. Ida died in 1907 but John continued to travel around with Dorelia, the children, and often other mistresses. He later married Dorelia. The artist Henry Lamb and his wife Euphemia (née Nina Forrest) also joined John and his family, and it is likely that the blonde woman in the present work is Euphemia.

The present work was most likely painted in Provence, a region for which John felt a particular affection. As Michael Holroyd writes, 'It was in Provence that he was to find another home - "I love that patch of ground," he claimed - and it was to the Provençal landscape ... that he would look for his finest pictures' (M. Holroyd, Augustus John, London, 1996, p. 312).

J.B. Priestley (1894-1984) was an English playwright, novelist and broadcaster. Throughout his lifetime he published 26 novels and a number of dramas including An Inspector Calls (1945). Priestley was a regular broadcaster on the BBC during World War Two, and his programme Postscript attracted audiences of 16 million people, meaning that only Winston Churchill was more popular with wartime listeners.

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