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Introducing the Art Detectives: sitter of Augustus John painting identified by online network

Jennifer Dudley, 17 Awst 2021

Amgueddfa Cymru is home to almost 1,400 paintings and drawings by Augustus John (1878-1961). A prolific portraitist, John painted many notable figures such as the poet and writer Dylan Thomas and the musician Guilhermina Suggia. He also made frequent sketches – in both pencil and oil paint – of unnamed people he encountered in everyday life. One such work in our collection has recently had its sitter identified thanks to the crowd-sourced resource Art Detective, where art lovers and experts can discuss artworks in public UK collections.

The work in question depicts a distinctive looking woman with cropped hair and a full fringe, sporting an inquisitive expression on her face. While the model’s dress and lower body is loosely sketched out, her face is richly detailed, suggesting that she was known to the artist.

A discussion about this painting was launched on Art Detective after Dr. Margot Schwass wrote in to share her research into Greville Texidor (1902-1964) and her belief that this is the “lost” Augustus John portrait of the author and world traveler. Schwass comments that: “When I chanced across an image of the portrait in the Amgueddfa Cymru collection, I knew straight away that it was Greville”. This prompted a lively and well-researched discussion among other Art Detective users, leading to our curatorial team being utterly convinced that this is in fact a portrait of Texidor, who, it was uncovered, worked as John’s secretary in the early 1920s.

We would like to thank Dr. Schwass for contributing her research and helping us learn more about this work in our collection. Her 2019 book All the Juicy Pastures is the first to tell the story of Texidor's extraordinary life.

You can read more about Art UK’s Art Detective Network here.

Dr Jennifer Dudley

Curadur: Rheoli Casgliadau Celf a Hygyrchedd


Jennifer Dudley Staff Amgueddfa Cymru
12 Ebrill 2022, 16:32

Hi Susan,

Thank you for your comment.
I’m afraid that the Art Department at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales currently only have the capacity to answer queries directly related to our own collection and are not able to offer opinions on privately owned artworks or provide an authentication/valuation service. You may like to try approaching auction houses for this kind of information.

With best wishes,
Jennifer Dudley
Curator: Art Collections Management and Access

Susan Fabbro
22 Mawrth 2022, 16:46
I recently contacted the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada about a war painting possibly by Augustus John. They suggested I get a professional art appraisal to authenticate the painting. I'm wondering if you could view the photos and give me your opinion. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Best regards,
Susan Fabbro
Nid yw sylwadau ar gael ar hyn o bryd. Ymddiheuriadau am yr anghyfleustra.