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Details & Cataloguing

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Stanley Cursiter, C.B.E, P.R.S.W., R.S.A.
1887-1976
THE SEAMSTRESS
signed and dated l.l.: Stanley Cursiter 1923
oil on canvas
51 by 61cm., 20 by 24in.
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Provenance

The Drambuie Collection, Scotland;
Their sale Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, 26 January 2006, lot 148

Catalogue Note

It is likely that the models for The Seamstress were Cursiter's wife Phyliss who posed for the seated figure and a favourite model named Poppy Lowe whose pretty features appear in other works by Cursiter. Poppy was the subject of Girl in White a sumptuous portrait painted in 1922 (Sotheby's, 29 September 2010, lot 75) and another portrait entitled Taffeta which was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1923. Both Poppy and Phyliss appear in another similar painting also dated 1923 (private collection) in which Phyliss is seated on a sofa with her violin beside her whilst Poppy plays a piano beyond. Phyllis Eda Hourston, daughter of James Hourston was a talented musician from Orkney whom Cursiter married in 1914 shortly before signing up for 'Cameronians', the 1st Battalion of the Scottish Rifles.

The Seamstress is similar to a self portrait with Poppy and Phyliss entitled Chez Nous which is now at the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh where Cursiter served as Keeper from 1924 and Director between 1930 and 1948. Chez Nous was painted in 1925 and exhibited at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Art that year. It shares several compostional similarities, such as the grouping of figures in front of diaphanous white curtains at a Curstier's studio window overlooking the street. Another comparable picture is House of Cards of 1924 (Tankerness House Museum, Orkney) which shares the glimmering colour scheme of pale tones and bright sunlight.

British & Irish Art

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