A previously unknown portrait of the pioneering British female artist Isobel Codrington will be offered by fine art auctioneers Lyon & Turnbull
in Edinburgh on 5th February. The portrait was painted by one of the greatest society portraitist of the age, Philip de László. Codrington, a pupil of George Clausen, was one of a number of women artists commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to record the First World War. She was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and the Paris Salon, and held solo shows in both Paris and London. The newly discovered portrait recalls a line from the poem Ezra Pound wrote for Codrington, "such pools as are your dearest eyes.
Like many early British female artists, however, Codrington's career has since been overshadowed by her male contemporaries. The De László portrait has never been published, and has remained in the possession of Codringtons family. The portrait was painted in 1909, shortly after De László moved to England in 1907. His circle in London included Codrington's husband, fellow-Hungarian art critic Paul George Konody. It is probable that this portrait was a gift to the couple as a token of friendship.
Known for his portraits of royals and aristocrats, Philip de László's sitters also included industrialists, scientists, politicians, artists, authors and many other eminent people. De Lászlós works include some of the most famous and influential figures of the 20th century including Queen Elizabeth II when she was known as Princess Elizabeth of York, Theodore Roosevelt, Benito Mussolini, Arthur Balfour, Frank B. Kellogg and Jerome K Jerome, to name a few. By the time of de László's death in 1937 he held 22 orders and 17 medals of merit bestowed on him by royal and presidential sitters.
Katherine Field, Senior Editor of The Catalogue Raisonné of Works by Philip de László, said; This is an exciting new discovery for the Philip de László Catalogue Raisonné of Works, which has so far traced some 4,500 paintings and drawings. It is an example of the artists brilliantly spontaneous study portraits, which de Laszlos mastery of technique allowed him to complete in as little as two hours.
Nick Curnow, Head of Paintings at Lyon & Turnbull, says, This is one of the most engaging 20th Century portraits we have seen at Lyon & Turnbull. De László has truly captured the spirit and vitality of Codrington, an eminent artist at the forefront of the movement to secure recognition for women in the fine arts.
The portrait will be offered in Lyon & Turnbulls forthcoming Five Centuries: Furniture, Paintings & Works of Art auction in Edinburgh on 5th February 2020 with an estimate of £8,000-12,000 + fees.