Charles de Sousy Ricketts

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Charles de Sousy Ricketts

by Charles Haslewood Shannon
Red and black chalks with touches of white on red tinted paper with gilt edge 2mm wide all sides, 1899
11 3/4 in. x 7 3/4 in. (298 mm x 197 mm)
NPG 2631

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Inscriptionback to top

Signed and dated in red chalk lower right: ‘CHS. 99’.

This portraitback to top

Probably executed in Spring Terrace, Richmond, where sitter and artist lived between 1898 and 1902, this appears to be the work referred to in Shannon’s diary for 19 February 1899: ‘Made drawing on pinkish paper of Ricketts in coloured chalks for Double portrait of R. & self at easel’. [1] This was shortly after the success of NPG 3106; here the sitter’s head is turned slightly more towards the viewer. The ‘Double portrait’, dated to 1907, was later destroyed. [2]

Malcolm Rogers, however, suggests that the image dates from later in the year, after the couple’s first visit to Italy from April to June. He observed that ‘this serious, introspective drawing of Ricketts, who, according to George Bernard Shaw, “always dealt en grand seigneur”, was doubtless intended to evoke the Old Masterly and patrician qualities of Titian.’ [3]

In one obituary, reference was made to Ricketts’s ‘austere head with a thin beard… delicate long hands and frail figure’. [4] Another invoked his ‘striking figure with his auburn imperial [beard] and moustache’. [5] Both these observations are illustrated in this drawing.

On exhibition in 1933, it was described as ‘an ingenious essay in the manner of Holbein’. [6]

Dr Jan Marsh

conserved and mounted 1981
conserved and framed 1993

Footnotesback to top

1) BL, London, Add MSS 58111.
2) See Calloway & Delaney 1979, no.8 for reference to photograph; the 1918 ‘double study’ (Fitzwilliam M., Cambridge, PD.15-1948) is not related to this portrait.
3) Rogers 1993, p.143. Shaw’s remark was first published in Moore 1933, p.ix.
4) Manchester Guardian, 9 Oct. 1931.
5) Daily Herald, 8 Oct. 1931.
6) The Times, 28 Dec. 1933, p.8.

Physical descriptionback to top

Head, near profile to left, long beard.

Provenanceback to top

[? with sitter till death]; Charles Shannon, from whom purchased 1933 via the Master in Lunacy and the Official Solicitor.

Exhibitionsback to top

Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon: An Aesthetic Partnership, Orleans House, Twickenham, 1979 (4).

Master Drawings from the National Portrait Gallery, London and seven other venues, 1993–4 (73).

Reproductionsback to top

Moore 1933, pl.1.

Delaney 1990, frontispiece.

Rogers 1993, p.143.

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