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In Storage

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)

Major E. C. Harrison (original title: Cecil, Son of Robert Harrison Esq.)

Sargent was American but spent much of his early life in Europe. He studied in Paris and began his career there, but the scandal created by his painting Madame X prompted a move to London in 1885. There he re-established himself as a stylish society portraitist.

Robert and Helen Harrison were friends of Sargent's. He had already exhibited a portrait of Helen at the Royal Academy in 1886. The painting of Cecil was Sargent's first major child portrait commission in England. The simplicity of the composition and the dark colours draw the eye to the brightly lit hands and face. Cecil stares out of the painting perhaps dreaming of future adventures suggested by his sailor suit. That future would be cut short in 1915 while he was serving as a Major in the British army.

Medium oil on canvas
Date 1887
Dimensions 1728mm x 836mm
Acquisition Number SOTAG : 485
Credit Line Purchased in 1935 with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund