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Dorothy Hepworth (1894-1978) - Early 20th Century Watercolour, Self Portrait



A wonderful self-portrait by the British artist Dorothy Hepworth (1894-1978). Hepworth sits in a low chair, positioned in the corner of a comfortable sitting room. She stares intently at the viewer, with pen in hand. Hepworth has effortlessly captured her surroundings with great care given to include the personal touches of the room, from the ornaments on the mantelpiece to the pile of books on the dresser. This is very likely to be the home in Cookham which she shared with her life partner Patricia Preece, the wife of Stanley Spencer. The watercolour is presented in a birdseye maple frame with gilt slip and card mount. Unsigned. On watercolour paper.


The condition is very good for a picture of this age. There is little discolouration and no obvious signs of foxing. There are marks and scuffs to the frame corners.


33.2 x 25.3cm (13.1" x 10")
Framed Size: 54.1 x 43.8cm (21.3" x 17.2")

Collection Information

This fascinating collection by the artist Dorothy Hepworth (1894-1978), includes highly expressive portraits, accomplished landscape scenes and fine still life compositions. Acquired as part of a single portfolio from The Canterbury Auction Galleries, the provenance of these works can be traced to dealer-collector-researcher Michael Dickens.

Following his death, a collection of paintings from his private estate came up at Canterbury Auction Galleries, which included works by Hepworth, although many were either signed or inscribed by Patricia Preece. Most of the works we are presenting are unsigned, however, some do include signatures/monograms by 'Patricia Preece' and 'Dorothy Hepworth'.

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Artist Biography

Dorothy Hepworth (1894-1978) was an artist and the lifelong friend and companion of the painter Patricia Preece, whom she befriended at the Slade School of Fine Art. While studying there, Hepworth first showed at the RA, and in 1918-19, she graduated with first-class honours. With Preece, she set up a studio in London, later spending four years with her in Paris, where Hepworth studied at Atelier Colarossi.

After returning to England in 1925, they rented accommodation in the West of England, and in 1927 settled in Cookham, Berkshire, Stanley Spencer’s home town. The couple resided there until Patricia Preece passed away in 1966, even during Preece’s strange marriage to Spencer, which Hepworth vehemently sought to discourage. Most of the paintings, allegedly by Patricia Preece, are now known to be by Dorothy Hepworth, especially the later work.

In fact, Preece achieved something of a reputation during the 1930’s as an artist of quality, based on exhibiting under her own name the paintings and drawings executed by Dorothy Hepworth. Dorothy Hepworth did exhibit under her own name at the Royal Academy, Lefevre Gallery, New English Art Club and at the Leger Galleries. A studio sale at Christie’s South Kensington in 1984 comprised 500 paintings and over 1,500 drawings from Hepworth’s studio. Included were still life works, figure studies and landscapes in and around Cookham.

More Information
Code qs098
Artist Dorothy Hepworth (1894-1978)
Date Early 20th Century
Dimensions 33.2 x 25.3cm
Medium Watercolour
Style Postimpressionism
Subject Portrait
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