Wednesday, March 15, 2023

606. A Caricature of Charles Ricketts by Walford Graham Robertson

From about 1910, Ricketts and Shannon became public figures who were therefore regularly photographed, appeared in news reports or became the subject of satire and caricatures.

An unknown cartoon, actually an affectionate portrait of Ricketts, remained unpublished until recently Daniel Mailford Cottam devoted a blog on the site of the V&A in London to a series of drawings in the collection. [Read the full text of his blog with all the illustrations here.] The artist is Walford Graham Robertson (1866-1948).

Walford Graham Robertson, The Saga of Letitia and Rachel, No.20.
[V&A London, b
equeathed by Guy Tristram Little: E.2731-1953]

A handwritten explanation accompanying this image reads:

The revel is at its height. All is innocent gaiety and intellectual relaxation. The Archbishop of Canterbury is approaching Mr Epstein on the subject of a heroic and symbolic statue of himself for presentation to the Luxembourg by Mr Edmund Davis. In the cloakroom (where the crush is terrific) Mr Ricketts is kindly running up a little costume for M Nijinski who, from force of habit, has come without one.

The dancer Vaslav Nijinsky (1888-1950), who was greatly admired by Ricketts and whom he met several times, is at the front of the cloakroom, but is completely naked (as suggested by his costumes in one ballet). Ricketts sits on the counter like a tailor, busy sewing a colourful costume especially for him - these were the years when Ricketts was known for his stage costumes and the dancer for his performances in London.

Daniel Mailford Cotton's blog is a wonderful read.

See V&A website: The Saga of Letitia and Rachel.