A Portrait Sketch
Oil on canvas; signed. Labelled verso, 'Portrait sketch [a 3 hours study] by Louise Jopling'
20 x 15.75 inches
Louise Jopling’s portraits commanded prices that few, if any, other British female artists achieved. Leighton, Burne-Jones and Tissot were her friends, as were Whistler and Millais, both of whom painted her portrait. She was known for her quick sketches from single sittings, which she painted throughout her career; a review in The Graphic of the 1886 Society of Lady Artists (founded as The Society of Female Artists in 1857, becoming ‘Lady’ in 1869 and ‘Women’ in 1890) exhibition mentions a ‘female head of great beauty’ that was ‘painted in one sitting by Mrs. Louise Jopling’. It is possible that the sitter here was one of Jopling’s students - or possibly her niece, the daughter of her sister Marie Cockell.
Born Louise Goode, she exhibited under her married names; as Mrs Romer, she had accompanied her husband to Paris when he was was appointed private secretary to Baron Rothschild in 1865. The Baroness discovered her talent and advised her to take lessons with M. Chaplin. The year after her husband’s death in 1873 she married another artist to become Mrs Jopling. In this marriage she was the primary earner, which she found a heavy responsibility, necessitating constant production, regular sales and a continual search for commissions and clients. In 1879, despite her own illness and that of her son Percy, she produced eighteen pictures.
In 1887 after the death of her second husband she became Mrs Rowe, but continued to exhibit as Mrs Jopling, the name under which she had achieved recognition. In 1901 she became the first woman to be elected to the Royal Society of British Artists