Tea in Winter
Oil on canvas; signed and labelled
19.5 x 15.25 inches
Royal Glasgow Institute, 1936, no 415
Gabain, who was half French, studied at the Slade and in Paris and was a well known lithographer who did not exhibit her first oil painting until 1927, when she was 44. This painting, of Carmen Watson, was exhibited at the Royal Glasgow Institute in 1936. Watson, who sat for Gabain for over sixty paintings, gave a gushing interview to the Sunday Express in the same year: ‘A Botticelli Smile – Carmen Watson, blonde, petite artist’s model, is the most sought-after girl in London. She has been working 12 hours a day for six years, and is now booked up for three months. “Long hair, punctuality, and an ‘indefinable something’ are my greatest assets,” she said ... “Artists tell me I am the Botticelli type. They say there is something about my smile they can’t quite capture. So they go on trying ... Even Mr Gerald Kelly, who usually paints only his wife, did a portrait of me”’. Gabain went on to become President of the Society of Women Artists in 1940.