1 of 56 portraits of Edith Sitwell
© Wyndham Lewis and the estate of the late Mrs G A Wyndham Lewis by kind permission of the Wyndham Lewis Memorial Trust (a registered charity)
by Wyndham Lewis
15 1/4 in. x 11 1/4 in. (387 mm x 286 mm)
Given by the sitter's brother, Sir (Francis) Osbert Sacheverell Sitwell, 5th Bt, 1965
Artistback to top
- (Percy) Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957), Painter and novelist. Artist associated with 39 portraits, Sitter in 18 portraits.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Clerk, Honor, The Sitwells, 1994 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 14 October - 22 January 1995), p. 102 Read entry
This drawing and another of Edith inscribed Throne (in the collection of Francis Sitwell) are dated 1921 and show her in a helmet-like headdress. In this portrait the delineation of the hooded eyes anticipates the expression in Lewis's painting. 'I think it is his best drawing,' Sacheverell wrote to David Piper shortly after Osbert gave it to the National Portrait Gallery, 'but not inspired by love, but hatred ... though I don't know why.'1 Two further undated Lewis drawings of Edith (National Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, and Cecil Higgins Art Gallery, Bedford) are catalogued in sequence with these by Walter Michel.2
1 Sacheverell Sitwell to David Piper, 2.8.1966, NPG archives
2 W. Michel, Wyndham Lewis, Paintings and Drawings, 1971.
- Edwards, Paul, Wyndham Lewis Portraits, 2008 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 3 July to 19 October 2008), p. 42
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 567
Events of 1921back to top
Current affairsMarie Stopes, campaigner for women's rights and pioneer of family planning, opens her first clinic in London, offering a free service to married women. While Stopes's forthright and open-minded attitudes have helped to change opinion about family planning and sex, her opinions on eugenics have been criticised and are now out-of-step with current thinking.
Art and scienceBritish-born star of Hollywood Charlie Chaplin visits London where he is greeted by thousands. In 1921 Chaplain made his film, The Kid, which told the story of a tramp who finds an abandoned baby in an alley and decides to look after him. The portrayal of poverty in the film drew on Chaplain's own experiences of growing up in a working class family in London.
InternationalThe Anglo-Irish Treaty partitions Ireland into the Irish Free State (later the Republic of Ireland) and Northern Ireland. The Irish Free State was granted independence, while six of the Northern counties of Ulster decided to remain part of Britain. The treaty came into effect in 1922.
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