Wednesday, April 22, 2020

456. A Ricketts Caricature

The exhibitions of the Royal Acadamy members were always viewed critically and there was often reason for mockery. On 9 June 1926 The Sketch published a caricature of a painting by Ricketts. The magazine had sent a young artist, Anna Zinkeisen, to the show, and she returned with several sketches that made fun of some fine reputations, such as those of Glyn Philpot and Charles Ricketts.

Anna Zinkeisen, drawing in The Sketch, 9 June 1926
The one hundred and fifty-eighth exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts contained two paintings by Ricketts, "Judith" and "The Fallen Angel", and it was this second painting that became the target of mockery.

In the catalogue, the description of "The Fallen Angel" included a quote - this wasn't unique; for example, the painter Frederick H. Ball quoted Matthew 25 and Fred Roe brought a strophe by Tennyson to mind.

For Ricketts's "The Fallen Angel" - not one of his masterpieces - the quote was biblical:

"The Sons of God saw the Daughters of Men that they were fair." - Genesis vi.

Charles Ricketts, "The Fallen Angel" (study, 1926)
Zinkenstein's drawing shows a new textual approach:

Wife (Faintly): "Hadn't you better 'phone for the doctor, dear?"

Anna Zinkeisen (1901-1976) was a Scottish painter, who (with her elder sister Doris) attended Harrow School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools, where she studied sculpture. Later she designed Wedgwood plaques, London transport posters and book illustrations, but her specialities became portraits and murals, some of them for ships.

The whereabouts of Ricketts's "Fallen Angel" are unknown, but a sketch for it was auctioned  by Sotheby's in 1989 in London, and, again, in New York in 1994. This sketch shows only the right-hand part of the painting and measures 91,5 by 52 cm.