Petrushka, Scene from the Ballets Russes by Claude Shepperson

Petrushka, Scene from the Ballets Russes by Claude Shepperson



Petrushka – Scene from the Ballets Russes

Signed l.l.: Shepperson
Watercolour over traces of pencil

30.5 by 45.5 cm., 12 by 18 in.
(frame size 52.5 by 66 cm., 20 ¾ by 26 in.)

Richard C Davis, who donated to
British Red Cross sale, Christie’s London, 15-21 Feb 1942.

Claude Shepperson was born in Kent and educated at Weymouth College. He initially trained as a lawyer but abandoned this in order to study painting at Heatherley’s School of Fine Art in 1891, receiving help from Sir Frank Short. He went on to further his studies in Paris. He began working as a costume illustrator but went on to be a successful illustrator of books and periodicals, being a frequent contributor to Punch and other publications. He was also an accomplished etcher and lithographer many examples of his prints being in the collection of the British Museum. In addition, he also taught at Bradshaw’s Press Art School.

The ballet Petrushka was composed by Igor Stravinsky for the 1911 Paris season of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The choreography was by Michel Fokine with stage and costumes by Alexandre Benois. It tells the story of the loves and jealousies of three puppets. The scene in the present work shows Petrushka discovering his love, the Ballerina, in the arms of his rival, the Moor.