Portrait of a Little Spanish Girl

Portrait of a Little Spanish Girl



Born in Lorient, Brittany and having fought in the Franco-Prussian War, Roussel moved to England in 1870. He settled in London and shared a studio with Percy Jacomb-Hood and Thomas Henry in Chelsea. Although he first began exhibiting in London in 1872 it was not until 1885 that Whistler became aware of his work and arranged to meet him. The two artists found they not only shared similar subject matter but their artistic sympathies and thoughts about the art establishment were also the same. Unusually for Whistler and his friends, they remained on good terms for life. Along with Whistler he became a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1887 only to resign with Whistler and his followers in 1888. Whistler is supposed to have said of Roussel, “At last I have found a follower worthy of the master”. Although never actually a pupil, Whistler’s influence on Roussel’s work was immense, particular during his time living in Chelsea between 1880 and 1891. In 1891 Roussel moved to Parsons Green, Fulham and his continued to paint aesthetic landscapes and portraits as well as producing many excellent etchings. Roussel died in St Leonards on Sea in 1926 and a Memorial Exhibition of his work was held in the following year at Goupil Gallery, London. More than 30 of his pictures were included in the “London Impressionists” exhibition at the Michael Parkin Gallery, London in 1975. Examples of his work are in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Gallery and other public collections. The present work is presented in one of the artist’s original Comedy Pattern frames. Roussel designed six frames to surround his etching, four for monochrome prints and two for those printed in colours. Once printed the etched designs were cut from the sheet and glued to contoured wooden moundlings and then varnished. Complete frames have become very rare. The Comedy Pattern frame was made c.1907-08 and there were a total of about 10 completed frames produced. (see Hausberg, no.165). This particular frame has been reduced in size at some stage. This version of Portrait of a Little Spanish Girl with it’s original Roussel frame comes from the collection of the Herriot family. Robertine Heriot was a pupil of Roussel and she exhibited along side him at various venues. She was clearly in a financial position to act as an important patron and was certainly a close friend of the artist and great admirer of his work, being eager to promote both his paintings and prints and his posthumous reputation. In 1927 Robertine and her sister-in-law, Mrs Walter Heriot, purchased Roussel’s famous and controversial painting The Reading Girl from the Stedelick Museum and presented it to the Tate Gallery in memory of the artist. She also gave one of Roussel’s prints to the collection of the British Museum and in 1947 she presented Brighton Museum and Art Gallery with Roussel’s still life, Grey and Silver.


Height 19.05 cm / 7 "
Width 17.78 cm / 7 "
Framed height 81.28 cm / 32 "
Framed width 76.2 cm / 30 "