This portrait of John’s lover Dorelia washing clothes in a basin outdoors is thought to have been painted in the garden at Alderney Manor in Dorset, the family home that Dorelia shared with John and the children. Here John uses a technique he had first deployed in France, painting in oils directly onto a wood panel. Dorelia, a Bohemian style icon of the time, wears a brightly coloured outfit that she had designed and made herself.
Date of work
Original: Oil paint on wood 40.6 x 30.2 cm Tate. Purchased with assistance from Sir James Murray 1923 © Estate of Augustus John / Bridgeman Images
Augustus John was born January 1878 in Tenby, Wales. He studied at the Slade School from 1894 to 1898 where he won a scholarship and the Summer Composition Prize. After leaving school he travelled extensively around Europe, the UK and Ireland, where he painted whilst camping with gipsies and worked with Innes and Derwent Lees. His works were exhibited all over London and the rest of the UK and in later years across the USA.