- Museum number
A nude on a bed, with a man sitting on edge of it; room interior, with a woman lying on her back on a bed, at her feet a man, and at right a chair beside a door. c.1925
- Production date
- 1925 (circa)
Height: 261 millimetres
Width: 356 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- As well as following Walter Sickert’s working practices, Gosse also adopted the elder artist’s subject matter, on this occasion echoing what Wendy Baron refers to as his ‘iron bedstead scenes’ (Introduction, ‘Sylvia Gosse: Paintings and Drawings’, Michael Parkin Gallery, 1989). Known collectively as ‘The Camden Town Murder’ series, these drawings and paintings feature a reclining naked woman observed by a fully clothed man. The deliberate placing of the two figures within the domestic interior and the often ambiguous nature of their relationship creates a particular tension within such compositions, which Gosse also achieves in this instance.
In one example Sickert appends the contrasting title ‘And What Shall We Do for the Rent?’ (Oil on canvas, Yale Centre for British Art (B1979.37.1)), immediately transforming a scene of potential violence and alienation into one of daily hardship, a couple united in their anxiety. Gosse attempts to create this similar play on meaning in her work. In this drawing the reclining woman smiles tentatively towards the seated man, her left arm outstretched as if prepared to welcome him into an embrace. However, in a related etching in the collection (1927, 0104.7), the artist has removed the female figure so that only the man is presented, isolated at the foot of the bed, clutching his hands together. This print is titled ‘Despair’.
The light palette employed by Gosse in the relatively finished watercolour, eschews the threatening darkness evoked in Sickert’s low-toned scenes, largely produced between 1907 and 1914. Instead the contrasting effect of lilac and lime green to describe the walls and floor in this composition - dated to c.1925 in the British Museum’s Accession register – is more akin to the elder artist’s later work, when he sought to construct an ‘abstract jigsaw pattern of colours conceived in terms of their tonal equivalents’ (W. Baron, ‘Sylvia Gosse: Paintings and Drawings’, Michael Parkin Gallery, 1989). Certainly these bright decorative colours lend a sense of vibrancy to Gosse’s scene, at odds with the apparent seriousness of the subject matter. The careful description of the white bedspread as is expands over the iron frame, injects luminosity into this depiction of an otherwise ordinary, and somewhat shabby, interior.
This is one of two related compositions. See also 1939,0780.8
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1978 May-Jul, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, 'Sylvia Gosse', no.33
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number