Private Collection

William Strang
(1859 - 1921)

The Green Cloak, Portrait of the actress Miss Barbara Horder, 1918

SKU: 6633
Oil on canvas
30 x 24  in. (76 x 61 cm.)

Size:
Height – 76cm
Width – 61cm

DESCRIPTION

Exhibited: London, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 1920 (72).


In a period gilded reeded oak frame with black outer moulding.

C.R. Ashbee, who sat for Strang, recalled that:….in each of his portraits there is some touch of his sitters’ ugliness revealed in the beauty of the draughtsmanship….those of us who …have sat for our portraits and prize the results….are also grimly conscious of an unpleasant something in ourselves that we don’t mention but that our love of truthfulness would not have us conceal…they have the quality of Dr Johnson, they are lexicographical (CR Ashbee, unpublished typescript of memories, Victoria and Albet Museum, vol IV, p. 71, quoted in Athill, William Strang, 1981, p 22)


Strang often animated his portraits with striking and unusual colour combinations.  The same red background is used to great effect in his portrait of  Panchita Zorolla, (Manchester City Art Gallery,1916).

Horders’parents lived next door to the Strangs  at 6 Hamilton Terrace (now re-numbered as 18 HT) . In  1916, when she was only 18 she founded an experimental theatre in the converted stable and coach house of her parents’ home.
Her fledging theatre, The Garden Theatre, was supported by GK Chesterton and here she staged and directed foreign and original one-act plays. John Gielgud was amongst the actors who performed.  Her first recorded role as a professional acrtress was as a maid in an early wireless broadcast from London of Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ in October 1925. Miss Horder then appeared in the play The Lady of Belmont (by St John Ervine), 1926-1927, at The Arts Theatre, London. She subsequently played on Broadway in a number of productions, including the Laurence Olivier production of Romeo and Juliet starring Vivien Leigh in the 51st Street Theatre in May 1940 where she played Lady Montague. Her father was the  architect Percy Morley Horder FRIBA 1870-1944



We are grateful to Jeanne Strang and Simon Edsor for assistance.
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THE ARTIST

Strang, William

1859 – 1921

Born Dumbarton, 13 Feb 1859; died Bournemouth, 12 April 1921. Scottish painter and printmaker. Following a brief apprenticeship with a shipbuilding firm in Clydesdale, he entered the Slade School of Art (1876) where he adhered to the uncompromising realism advocated by his teacher Alphonse Legros. After completing his studies at the Slade (1880), Strang became Legros’s assistant in the printmaking class for a year. For the next 20 years he worked primarily as an etcher. His etchings include landscapes in the tradition of Rembrandt, pastoral themes indebted to Giorgione and macabre genre subjects, marked by a sense of tension and suspended animation. He also etched 150 portraits of leading artistic and literary figures. The commitment to realism and psychological intensity that characterizes the best of Strang’s etched work is also evident in the paintings that dominated the latter half of his career. The influence of the Belgian and French Symbolists’ work and Strang’s growing confidence in the handling of colour combined in his mature style with a linear clarity and schematic colouring that is best seen in such works as Bank Holiday (1912; London, Tate). His oil portraits, for example Vita Sackville-West as Lady In a Red Hat (1918; Glasgow, A.G. & Mus.), are strikingly potent images of their time. An important collection of Strang’s graphic work is in the Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. His sons Ian Strang (1886’1952) and David Strang (born 1887) were also printmakers.

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William Strang (1859 - 1921)
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William Strang (1859 - 1921)
The Green Cloak, Portrait of the actress Miss Barbara Horder, 1918