The artist, and thence by descent to his daughter, Mary Spencer Watson, until 1989
Born in London, the son of a surgeon, George Spencer Watson trained as an artist at St John’s Wood and the Royal Academy – having obtained the Landseer Scholarship – where he won a silver medal for drawing. Exhibiting at the RA from 1891, Watson became an Associate in 1923 and Academician in 1931.
The model for this chalk drawing looks to be Beatrice Stuart, who modelled between c.1903 to 1917 for John Singer Sargent, Frank Dicksee, George Washington Lambert and John Knivet Luxmore. Watson exhibited two chalk portraits at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and four in the Pastel Society at the Royal Institute of painters in watercolour all in 1915; this drawing may have been one of them. In the latter exhibition, The Globe described the portrait studies as 'things as excellent in their technical quality as they are shrewd in observation and individual in character’ (9 Jan 1915, p.3).