Literature: Llewellyn, Sacha, and Paul Liss. Portrait of an Artist. Liss Llewellyn, 2021, p.297.
This unfinished self-portrait, which dates from the late 1920s, shows Dunbar as she saw herself when she was about 21. It is probably the latest, and the most ambitious, in a series of youthful self portraits dating from when she was 15 (collection Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) in which she sees herself – reflected in the mirror – surrounded by the accoutrements of the artist she wished to become, easel, canvas, palette; and the right-hand self-portrait below from a year or two later. In fact Dunbar was right-handed. Given the image reversal that self-portraitists have to contend with, it could be asked whether Dunbar has deliberately obscured the laterality of her hands. Be that as it may, she has left us with a self-image of thoughtfulness and concentration, with a hint or two of Bohemia in her dress and floppy hat.
We are grateful to Christopher-Campbell Howes, author of Evelyn Dunbar: A Life in Painting, for the above text. and use of the images below: