Oil on canvas; signed and dated 1904
31 x 23 inches
Paintings Since Whistler, National Gallery of Britain, 1940
Wilson Steer exhibition, CEMA 1943-44, no. 12
Philip Wilson Steer Exhibition, Temple Newsam, 1944
Leonard F. Harrison
Steer’s title is from The Black Domino (a popular play at London’s Adelphi Theatre), the plot of which hinges around the heroine’s use of a cloak, or ‘domino’, to disguise her identity at a masquerade. She holds a mask in her hand. Another version of the subject – larger, and less immediate, was exhibited at the New English Art Club in 1904 as The Black Domino. The model for both versions, and several other pictures by Steer of about this time, has been identified as Theodora Bennett, who was born in 1879 and lived near Steer’s house and studio in Cheyne Walk. Steer had studied in Paris in the early eighties, and became a founder member of the New English Art Club, ‘grafting French Impressionism on English stock’ (Tate).