Lot 56
  • 56

Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A.

50,000 - 70,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A.
  • Chiswick Baths
  • signed l.r.: J Lavery; also signed and titled on the reverse
  • oil on canvasboard


Pyms Gallery, London, 1983;
Private collection, U.S.A.;
Christie's, London, 8 November 1990, lot 51;
de Veres, Dublin, 23 November 2004, lot 40, where purchased by the present owner


Edinburgh, Society of Eight, 1929;
London, P. & D. Colnaghi, Their Majesties' Court, Buckingham Palace, 1931 Studies and Other Sketches by Sir John Lavery RA, 1932, no.68, illustrated in exh. cat.;
London, Pyms Gallery, Autumn Anthology, 1983, no.24;
London, Fine Art SocietySir John Lavery, 1984-85, no.104, with tour to Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin


Kenneth McConkey, John Lavery, A Painter and his World, 2010, p.241, note 142

Catalogue Note

The present work evokes a bygone era of Londoners enjoying the swimming pool at Chiswick Baths on a summer’s day. The Baths were opened in 1910 on Edensor Road; they were later redeveloped and the site now exists as an indoor pool. Chiswick Baths was only a short drive from Lavery’s studio in Cromwell Place and he seized the opportunity to capture the fun and pleasure of the pool with spontaneous, fluid and colourful brushwork.

The Baths were one of several al fresco pools built in the Edwardian era and were a prototype for the classic art deco lidos that emerged in the 1930s. The innovative architecture of these early pools is seen in the present work with the double-decker changing cabins on the left hand side of the pool and at the end can be seen the four-tiered diving board. The pools were exciting new places for the young to mingle, especially permitting mixed bathing sessions and representing as a whole a greater relaxing of formal social rules.

Throughout Lavery’s career he had been drawn to painting contemporary leisure activities, perhaps most famously with his painting The Tennis Party of 1885 (Aberdeen Art Gallery), which emphatically announced Lavery’s modernist credentials. Tennis was to appear in several other works by Lavery in addition to croquet, golf and regattas. Lavery’s keen interest in swimming baths dates from the 1920s and his visits to Monte Carlo and Palm Beach in Florida. At Palm Beach he was captivated by the People’s Pool, otherwise known as Gus’s Baths and which resulted in such works as Winter in Florida, 1927 (private collection).