Oriel Ross

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Oriel Ross

by Oriel Ross
pen and ink, circa 1928-1931
14 in. x 10 1/8 in. (357 mm x 256 mm) overall
Purchased, 2001
Primary Collection
NPG 6578

Sitterback to top

  • Oriel Ross (1907-1994), Actress and amateur artist. Sitter in 1 portrait, Artist or producer of 7 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Oriel Ross (1907-1994), Actress and amateur artist. Artist or producer of 7 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

In Who's Who in the Theatre, Ross gave her recreation as 'drawing'. Many of her sitters were fellow thespians, friends in the theatre world and artists, and her drawings of them seem to be posed in the Green Room waiting to go on, some with a book in hand, some with a glass. All are done in a spontaneous, nervous line, a line not unlike that of Jean Cocteau.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Rideal, Liz, Insights: Self-portraits, 2005, p. 86 Read entry

    Multi-talented, Ross trained at the Royal College of Music and made her debut as an actor in 1923 aged sixteen. In 1928 she appeared as Nature in Diaghilev’s Ballet Ode, and then went to New York to work in revue and cabaret on Broadway. As one of Ross’s many methods of self-expression, this drawing seems beautiful, lucid and effortless, the fluid ink-line seamlessly transmitting the languorous essence of the artist. This might also illustrate the meditative space the actor needs in order to concentrate before or after a performance.

Events of 1928back to top

Current affairs

The Representation of the People Act 1928 grants women the same rights to vote as men. Building on reform of 1918, this Act lowered the voting age for women from 30 to 21, and removed the ownership of property requirements.

Art and science

Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. The Scottish scientist's identification of the first antibiotic revolutionised the treatment of infection and is a landmark in medical history. By the Second World War, penicillin was being used to treat wounded soldiers and had a major impact on survival rates of those with infected wounds.


Stalin announces the Soviet Union's first Five-Year plan of economic development. Based on Lenin's New Economic Policy, the Five-Year Plans aimed to expand the country's economy through rapid centralised industrialisation.

Tell us more back to top

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