Period: The return to England

John Postgate John Postgate
painted in Hampstead, London, 1934
oil on cardboard 74.7 x 57.2 cm
signed l.r., “STELLA /BOWEN”, not dated
verso, unfinished figure study in pencil
private collection

The members of the Postgate family were close friends of Bowen and her daughter; they lived nearby in London during the 1930s. John remembered posing for this portrait by Bowen, whom he described as being “very French”.

In this portrait, Bowen practised her quick method for portraiture:

I developed a technique for doing portrait sketches in two or three days and got a good many orders . . . The English love anything that looks as though it has been tossed off quickly and easily . . . Unfortunately sketchiness has never been one of my qualities. Nevertheless the quick portraits sold well and encouraged the delusion that I should someday achieve financial security by my brush.