Walter Richard Sickert

CICELY HEY

1922/23 Walter Richard Sickert (1860 − 1942)

‘Kikely’, as Sickert nicknamed her, was the daughter of painter Dr Darwin Hey, and a painter herself, part of the Bloomsbury world. They first met on 17 January 1923, when she was selling tickets on the door of a lecture by Roger Fry (that ‘syren’ speaker, said Sickert). The very next day Cicely starting sitting for Sickert in his Fitzroy Street studio, newly decorated with embossed gold wallpaper. Cicely remembered Sickert doing seven portraits of her in 1923, of which she identified the present piece to be the first completed. Three related studies in pen and ink are held in the collection of the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, one of which bears traces of squaring up, Sickert’s technique for transferring and enlarging a drawing onto canvas.

Here, Cicely is pictured off-centre, leaning on the end of a bedstead - that central motif for the painter of Camden Town. Wendy Baron however regards 1922-4 as ‘a winding-up period’ for this subject, in agreement with Cicely who recalled, ‘I think I was the last occupant of the iron bedstead.’ There is a gentle rhyme between the lilt of her fringe, the curl of her fingers, the ironwork and the green twirls on the wallpaper. But otherwise, the composition has the casualness of a snapshot. Light streams from the right, catching Cicely’s rather pudgy cheek, her fingers, the grooves of a frame on the wall behind and a lip where the wall projects. This vertical stripe down the left side, in parallel with the edge of the canvas, acts as a subtle counterbalance to the slant of the figure. Other portraits of Cicely continue to explore the drama of a single light source (so much so that a sister portrait was for some years mistitled Before the Footlights).

Roger R. Tatlock, then editor of the Burlington Magazine and later art editor of the Daily Telegraph, was the first to buy one of the Kikely paintings, and the following year, 1924, married the sitter herself. Cicely and Sickert remained close until the artist moved to Broadstairs in 1934; he called her his ‘mascot’.

Walter Sickert: Memories by Cecily Hay’, BBC interview, quoted in W. Baron, Sickert: Paintings and Drawings(Yale University Press, 2006), p112

 

  • Accession Number P19
  • Dimensions 64 X 77 CM
  • Media OIL ON CANVAS

Glossary (2)

  • Canvas

    A piece of cloth woven from flax, hemp or cotton fibres. The word has generally come to refer to any piece of firm, loosely woven fabric used to paint on. Its surface is typically prepared for painting by priming with a ground.

  • Drawing

    The depiction of shapes and forms on a flat surface chiefly by means of lines although colour and shading may also be included. Materials most commonly used are pencil, ink, crayon, charcoal, chalk and pastel, although other materials, including paint, can be used in combination.

Work Themes (2)

Past exhibitions

MY CHOICE WORKS SELECTED BY PAULA REGO FROM THE BRITISH COUNCIL COLLECTION

  • 2011
    • Portugal, Coimbra, Univesidade de Coimbra, Casa de Caldeiras
    • Portugal, Edp Foundation
    • Portugal, Cascais, Casa Das Historias

SICKERT AND HIS CIRCLE

  • 2006
    • UK, Bedford, Cecil Higgins Art Gallery

WALTER SICKERT 'DRAWING IS THE THING'

  • 2005
    • Ireland, Belfast, Ulster Museum
    • UK, Southampton, Southampton City Art Gallery
  • 2004
    • UK, Manchester, Whitworth Art Gallery

LA REALTA INTERIORE EREDITA DELL'IMPRESSIONISMO 1900-1945

  • 1994
    • Italy, Rome, Palazzo Delle Esposizioni

BRITISH FIGURATIVE PAINTING OF THE 20TH CENTURY

  • 1992
    • Israel, Jerusalem, The Israel Museum
    • UK, London, Sothebys

LIFE INTO PAINT

  • 1992
    • Israel, Jerusalem, The Israel Museum
    • UK, London, Sothebys

SICKERT

  • 1973
    • Scotland, Edinburgh, Fine Art Society
    • UK, London, Fine Art Society

WALTER RICHARD SICKERT 1860-1942

  • 1968
    • Australia, Sydney, David Jones' Art Gallery

CONTEMPORARY BRITISH PAINTING 1900-1962

  • 1964
    • Romania, Palace Of Culture
    • Romania, Bucharest, National Gallery
    • Slovakia, Bratislava, Mirbach Palace & Palffy Palace
    • Czechoslovakia, Prague, ULUV Exhibition Hall
  • 1963
    • Hungary, Budapest, Ernst Museum

JELENKORI BRIT FESTESZET

  • 1963
    • Hungary, Budapest, Ernst Museum

20TH CENTURY BRITISH ART

  • 1962
    • Portugal, Porto, Museu Nacional Soares Dos Reis
    • Portugal, Coimbra, Museu Da Nacional Machado De Castro
    • Portugal, Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

ARTE BRITANICA NO SECULO XX

  • 1962
    • Portugal, Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

50 ANS D'ART MODERNE

  • 1958
    • Belgium, Brussels, Palais Des Beaux-Arts De Bruxelles

BRITISH ART 1900-1955

  • 1956
    • Norway, Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus
    • Denmark, Copenhagen, Kunstforeningen

INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION

  • 1952
    • Japan, Sapporo, Marui Gallery
    • Japan, Kyoto, Metropolitan Art Gallery
    • Japan, Fukuoka, Itwataya Gallery
    • Japan, Osaka, Juuge Gallery
    • Japan, Nagoya, Matsuzakaya Gallery
    • Japan, Tokyo, Metropolitan Art Gallery
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