Paul Moorhouse discusses the subjects of Kossoff's portraits, 'Kossoff's relationships with particular subjects, and his choice of subject, begins with a visual stimulus. A feature in the landscape, or the presence of the model in the studio, generates an ambience which suggests the possibility of further exploration. He starts by making preliminary sketches, testing the motif and feeling the weight of his own response to it. This preliminary phase may last for a year or more. Finally some subjects demand a more intense involvement. It is during this period that Kossoff draws more ambitiously. Over a period of months and years, he returns again and again to the motif - looking, stripping away preconceptions, attempting to penetrate the constant ebb and flow of appearance. He has written evocatively [see L. Kossoff, Nothing is ever the same, The British Council, XLVI Venice Biennale catalogue, 1995, p. 25] of the challenge posed by the seemingly endless process of getting close to the subject: 'Every time the model sits everything has changed. You have changed, she has changed. The light has changed, the balance has changed. The directions you try to remember are no longer there, and whether working from the model or landscape drawings, everything has to be reconstructed daily, many many times' (see P. Moorhouse, Leon Kossoff, Tate Gallery exhibition catalogue, London, 1996, p. 22). The present composition belongs to a group of portraits dating from 1987. Paul Moorhouse (ibid., p. 33) comments; 'during the same fertile period, Kossoff worked concurrently on a series of nude studies of Fidelma, Pauline and Sally [the subject of lot 96]. Work also continued on portraits of single figures, including his friend John Lessore [the sitter of the present portrait], his wife Peggy, and his brother Chaim. In contrast to the congested energy of early portraits, these images possess a startling clarity ... Kossoff's use of high-key colours and bold tonal contrasts is a vital ingredient ... in the large Portrait of John Lessore (private collection) Kossoff employs a surprising palette of red, pink and grey. The colours melt together so that the image appears to shimmer in the pale studio light'.