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Walter Sickert

(1860-1942), Painter

Walter Richard Sickert

Sitter associated with 21 portraits
Artist associated with 10 portraits
Painter. Born in Munich of Danish-Irish descent, Sickert originally intended to be an actor and never lost his interest in music-halls, theatre and popular culture. He attended the Slade School. He became pupil and assistant to James McNeill Whistler during which time he met Degas who was an important influence. At the centre of the Fitzroy Street circle from 1907, Sickert was a founding member of the Camden Town Group. His subject matter, ordinary people in everyday lives, caused outrage. His later paintings were based on photographs and newspaper cuttings.

Watch a film clip on the artist from the BBC Archive in the Media section below

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Lynda Mary Watts

03 July 2018, 11:41

I am very interested in the painter Walter Richard Sickert.

My mother-in-law always claimed that her mother had been given the diminutive name 'Chicken' and was painted by Sickert seated at a piano playing Tipperary. Her name was Emmeline Henrietta Cuming and she was born and lived in the St Pancras area of London near Regent's Park, from 1895 to 1918 when she moved to Portsmouth and married there. Her father Henry John Cuming ( my mother-in-law's grandfather) was a property manager at the Adelphi Theatre and Emmeline was a toe-dancer. Comparisons of Sickert's painting of Chicken show a marked similarity to Emmeline, especially in her wedding photograph taken in 1918. I believe my mother-in-law's claim to be correct as she would not have obtained this information elsewhere. Henry John Cuming's mother was Sophia Barratt (1866 to 1906) and I am wondering if there is a connection between her and the portrait of Mrs Barratt painted by Sickert.

I also possess a photograph of Emmeline as a young girl with three men in arm uniform. As far as I know Henry John was never in the army and I wonder if these uniforms may be theatrical costumes. I believe that the man on the right is Henry John Cuming, and am wondering if the man on the left may possibly be Walter Sickert.

I would be very grateful for any further information regarding Sickert's life in London in the period 1880 to 1920, and am happy to provide any other useful information on the family history.

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