1 of 16 portraits of Dorothy ('Dorelia') McNeill
© reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London
by Charles F. Slade
snapshot print enlargement, September 1909
6 1/8 in. x 4 3/8 in. (155 mm x 111 mm)
Given by Ewan Phillips, 1982
Sitterback to top
- Dorothy ('Dorelia') McNeill (1881-1969), Partner and muse of Augustus John. Sitter in 16 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The beautiful and enigmatic Dorothy McNeill was working as a secretary and attending evening art classes when John met her in 1903. He viewed her as a near mythical being and renamed her Dorelia. She was his lover and muse for the rest of his life. This photograph was taken while encamped in Norfolk. Earlier in this year John painted The Smiling Woman, a full-length portrait of Dorelia wearing bohemian dress. The painting established John's reputation as an oil painter and became his first picture to enter a national collection when it was presented to the Tate Gallery by the Contemporary Art Society in 1917
Linked publicationsback to top
- Rolley, Katrina; Aish, Caroline, Fashion in Photographs 1900-1920, 1992, p. 64
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Augustus John: A Life in Portraits (26 July 2011 - 18 March 2012)
Events of 1909back to top
Current affairsThe American retailer Harry Gordon Selfridge opens the first British custom-built department store on what was then the 'dead end' of Oxford Street. The revolutionary complex, considered the world's largest at the time, transforms shopping, offering diverse amenities including a post office and a library, and modernises the visual face of retailing through innovative window displays.
Art and scienceThe Frenchman Louis Bleriot becomes the first person to cross the English channel by aeroplane, winning the £1,000 prize offered by the Daily Mail, and greeted by cheering crowds at Dover station. Bleriot's flight also showed that England was, as H.G. Wells put it, from a military point of view 'no longer an inaccessible island'.
In dance, Alexandre Benois becomes the first artistic director of Sergey Diaghilev's innovative Ballets Russes.
InternationalThe National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is founded in America to campaign for the rights of African Americans. One of the oldest and most influential civil rights movements, it was founded by a diverse group of individuals from mixed backgrounds, including W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida Wells-Barnett, Henry Moscowitz and William English Walling.
The Selig Polyscope company sets up the first film studio in Los Angeles.