The present drawing by Parsons, a distinguished designer of stained glass, can be dated to circa 1912 when the name of Edgar Winstanley, to whom this drawing is dedicated, appears in passing in Parsons' diary. Winstanley was one of many musicians who were friends of the artist, and indeed Parsons founded the Northwood musical club, which attracted many celebrated performers to its recitals.
The present drawing owes its composition not only to Rossetti's Saint Cecilia in the Moxon Tennyson, but also to the stained glass St. Cecilia in St. Oswald's church, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, designed by Christopher Whall (1849-1924). The window was executed in 1904-5 during Parson's time as an apprentice-assistant in Whall's studio and is illustrated in Whall's book Stained Glass Work, published in 1905, pl. XIII.
The face of Parsons' St. Cecilia seems to have been taken from one of his favourite models, Doris Dommette, who appears in many of the artist's designs of circa 1909-1912, notably Hope in the Rolls & Grace memorial window made for All Saints' Church, Isle of Sheppey, Kent in 1912. The cartoons for this window were sold at Christie's, 15 May 1984, lot 231, and a study of Hope was included in Karl Parson's, William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, 1987, no. 30.
We are grateful to Peter Cormack of the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow, for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.