Gilbert Spencer: Portrait of Dorothy Wooster (Worster), 1913

pencil

 

Gilbert gave this drawing to Dorothy, a childhood friend, (1892-1974) in 1948. Drawn in 1913, the year he enrolled as a student at the Slade at the age of 21, it shows Dorothy with her hair up as was the custom at the time, in contrast to the bobbed hairstyle in the later portrait by Stanley. Gilbert recalled the frequent contact between the Spencer and Wooster families, Mrs Wooster taking the young Stanley and Gilbert to Maidenhead by train to broaden their social experience, something that by then ‘we were able to take …in our stride’, and tea parties at the Wooster’s house. He also remembered their evening walks as young adults at around the time of this drawing, though the girls’ father (the only man Gilbert knew who could burst out of a door that opened inwards) liked going for walks with his daughters himself and did not quite approve of this new arrangement. ‘But though the Slade and his painting were winning Stan’s allegiance, these friendships were very real and idealistic and meant a lot to us.’ 

Lent by a private collector