|Clausen painted this portrait soon after his move from Hampstead to the village of Childwick Green in rural Hertfordshire. It shows him aged thirty wearing a thick brown jacket, turned slightly towards the right and holding a paintbrush in his left hand whilst looking outwards - an artist's conceit in which he is seemingly painting a portrait of the spectator; a portrait within a portrait. |
Clausen's image of himself at this date has a pendant in the form of a portrait of his wife, Agnes Mary Webster whom he had married just prior to the move from London. In this work, Agnes Mary is turned towards the left and thus, it is imagined, sits facing her artist-husband. Like him, she looks out at the spectator. Both portraits share the same dark grey/brown background with the paint thinly applied.
It is possible that Clausen painted the portraits to mark the occasion of his marriage - Agnes Mary's white dress certainly hints at this. However, they probably have a wider significance that can be related to the new phase in Clausen's career, where he is establishing himself as a serious artist outside of the London scene.
The portraits remained in Clausen's private collection until his death and were given to the Royal Academy by his eldest son in 1964.
This work is currently on display in the General Assembly Room at the Royal Academy of Arts and can be viewed by attending one of the free tours of the John Madejski Fine Rooms. Click here for further information about the tours
Frames associated with this work