Christie's, London, 7 June 1990, lot 3, where purchased by the present owner
Worthing Art Gallery, Paintings and Drawings by Dame Laura Knight, 1963, no.50
Knight made several studies of Chinese acrobats and jugglers in the 1920s and 1930s. This drawing probably depicts Long Tack Sam (born Lung Te Shan 1884-1961) the leader of a troupe of Chinese acrobats who appeared with The Great Carmo Circus, a partnership between Carmo and Bertram Mills in 1929. A major star, he was regarded as one of the greatest vaudeville performers of his generation - one of his most popular feats was to somersault forward holding a fishbowl in one hand and without spilling a drop of water or the goldfish.
The sheet has been laid-down which is providing a stable structural support and this watercolour is in very good condition. The edges are a little uneven along the top edge, suggesting that it may have been removed form a large sketchbook. There is a crease along the bottom edge and the paper is a little dirty and stained but not distractingly so. The paper is flat in the mount.
The picture is contained in a simple black wooden frame with a clean mount and under glass. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."