54 3/4 x 29 3/4 in
Mrs Syrie Maugham
Redfern Gallery, 1937
Glyn Philpot 1884-1937, Edwardian Asthete to Thirties Modernist, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1985, colour illustration, frontispiece.
T. Bodkin and A. C. Sewter, Glyn Philpot 1884-1937 (London, New York, Toronoto, Sydney, 1951), cat. no. 107, b/w illustration.
Philpot's travels throughout France, Italy and Spain provided a diverse range of influences and inspirations that are reflected in the eclectic nature of his practice. His early huge mythological and religious compositions evoke both an academic style and the romanticism of the pre-Raphelites - in fact he produced decorative borders and initials for Rossetti's translation of The Pitiful Song of Dante (1900-01) whilst the influence of Velasquez is visible in his portraiture, through which he primarily established his reputation particularly after World War I. In 1927, he painted a huge mural for St. Stephen's Hall, Westerminster in 1927 of Richard I leaving England for Crusade. Towards the end of his career, he was influenced by Picasso and turned to a more symbolist style, a dramatic enough shift to warrant national newspaper headlines. Philpot's personal life, he lived for over a decade with a soldier he met during the war, and his interest in depicting black models, ensured a certain notoriety and exclusion from the establishment during his lifetime. With retrospect Philpot is seen as one of the most pre-eminent twentieth-century British artists, with his reputation re-established with a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 1985. His work is held in major international museums including Tate, National Gallery of Canada, and the National Gallery of Scotland.