The subject of this painting is music hall performer Minnie Cunningham, a popular performer at the Old Bedford Music Hall in Camden Town. The original title was a line from one of Minnie’s songs: ‘I’m an old hand at love, though I’m young in years’, and it is painted from the viewpoint of her audience. The music hall had vulgar and bawdy connotations in the 1800s, and Sickert was considered extremely daring to depict such a setting.
Walter Richard Sickert
Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford
FSC Certified paper and wood
Date of work
Original: Minnie Cunningham at the Old Bedford 1892 Oil paint on canvas 76.5 x 63.8 cm Tate. Purchased 1976
Walter Richard Sickert (1860–1942) was considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century. He had a direct influence on the style and subject matter of artists in the Camden Town Group and the Euston Road School. Sickert’s active career as an artist lasted for nearly 60 years and his output was vast, including many domestic interiors, portraits, townscapes and theatrical subjects, later basing many of his paintings on photos. Also a writer and teacher, he was a proactive, political force in artistic circles. He was acknowledged as a catalyst for progress and modernity, yet someone who remained independent of groups, cliques and categories.