Thank you to Lorfords Antiques

Many thanks to the staff at Lorfords Antiques, Tetbury, Gloucestershire, who allowed me to take a good look at and photograph April’s Lady, which has now been sold.

There are two works with April in their name* mentioned in exhibition lists that I know of. April Lady in 1900 and April’s Lady in 1933. They are not necessarily the same work, of course. In spite of water damage, an ancient-looking label on the back of the work I examined does just about show an apostrophe, so I presume it to be correctly titled ‘April’s Lady.’

* There was also A Metaphor of Spring, and Youth, and Morning: a Vision of Incarnate April mentioned as having been sold for £105 [£4,500 at today’s prices] by Annie at the Manchester Society of Women Painters exhibition in 1882, but Annie’s style at that time was far removed from the work above, unless this April’s Lady was a deliberately rough, preparatory piece – Annie made detailed preparatory works on occasion, and it occurs to me that this is a very expensive way to work because oil paint is, and always has been, a costly medium. She does not appear to have been someone who’d make a few pencil or crayon sketches then go straight to oil on canvas. One is also reminded of the hundreds of ‘unfinished’ canvases found in her studios in London and Rome after her death. She clearly didn’t stint on quality of materials and in her method of production.

Jonathan Russell

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