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Augustus Edwin John OM RA (1878-1961)

“Romilly in Arthur’s arms reaches out to touch the standing horse ridden by a young lad, Dorelia seated centre holding her turban looking at the deceased Ida Nettleship standing on the right” Circa April – July 1909 Pen and Ink wash

In April 1909 Augustus assembled at Effingham a compliment of six horses, two vans, one cart, six children,Arthur – a disastrous groom, a stray boy, a broken down wagon, Dorelia and her younger sister Edie.

The convoy moved off to Epsom, Cambridge and Norwich by July 1909

Augustus had a famous fist fight with Arthur (in the cap) given the groom’s bad attitude to leaving Cambridge. Augustus later fired him after the horses had begun to die off. In this unusually large and rare drawing Augustus drew a fantasy of a harmonious family group with Ida and Dorelia. Ida died tragically in March 1907. The figure is not a portrait of Ida but is John’s recollection of her which explains its lack of liveliness

In 1908 John painted a large oil of a family group comprising Ida, Dorelia and children which now hangs in the Dublin City Gallery

(Image: Augustus John Family group)

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