The sketch on the reverse of this finished painting by Stott was made in preparation for On a Summer Afternoon which was exhibited with In the Orchard at the New Gallery in 1892. The Art Journal, defined the qualities of On a Summer Afternoon as follows: 'a combined impression of the artist's feeling - colour and form with the character of the subject, whether light or delicate; or strong and powerful; in short a recording of the impression on the painter's nature' (Art Journal, 1893, p. 104). This assessment could equally be applied to In the Orchard.
Born in Rochdale, Lancashire, Stott trained in Manchester and under Cabanel at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His early works were influenced by Millet and Bastien-Lepage and his paintings of English rural life, around his home at Amberley in Sussex, have ideas in common with the Newlyn School. Later he adopted a virtually pointillist technique and also extended the range of his subjects to include Biblical themes. He was a founder member of the New English Art Club in 1886. Stott, a bachelor, left most of his money to the Royal Academy for travelling scholarships.
[Portrait Studies of the Lady Duveen of Millbank, the Hon. Dorothy Duveen and Miss Shelagh Morrison-Bell]
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 9,600 GBP inscribed with the names of the sitters on the reverse
oil on canvasboard 20 by 15 3/4 in.
The present three portrait studies were made in preparation for Lavery's impressive lost painting of 1931 Their Majesties' Court, Buckingham Palace (FIG 1.) a painting which, according to the critic for The National Geographic 'caused a stir at this year's  Royal Academy and... won unstinted praise from the critics...' (Kenneth McConkey, Sir John Lavery, 1993, p. 181). The painting was regarded as providing 'ample evidence of the skill that has made Sir John the most sought after Court and Society portraitist of our time' (ibid McConkey, p. 181). The three studies would have been made from sittings at Lavery's studio from which he painted the large painting of the women of George V's court. The portraits for which these studies were made appear in the right foreground of Their Majesties' Court, Buckingham Palace.
Baroness Elsie Duveen (née Salomon, 1881-1963) was a tobacco heiress who became the wife of the art dealer and benefactor the first Lord Joseph Joel Duveen after they met at a party held to celebrate his planned marriage to another woman. Duveen was great champion of British art in North America and held exhibitions of Lavery's work at the Duveen Galleries in New York. He was a valuable supporter of Lavery in the early 1920s and an impressive society portrait of Joseph with his wife and daughter Dolly with their wire-haired terriers at their Fifth Avenue apartment in New York was painted by him in 1937 (Ferens Art Gallery, Kingston Upon Hull).
The munificent socialite Dorothy Rose Burns (née Duveen, 1903-1985) was the only child of Baron and Baroness Duveen. Her striking portrait was painted by Augustus John in the 1940s (National Portrait Gallery, London).
Shelagh Jocelyn Morrison-Bell was the daughter of the politician and aide-de-camp Major Sir Arthur Clive Morrison-Bell and Lilah Katherine Julia Wingfield. She married William Cooper Moore on the 17th April 1943.
inscribed, signed and dated l.c.: MIDSUMMER JOHN LAVERY 1884; signed and inscribed with the title and the artist's address on the reverse
oil on panel 8 ½ by 12 ½ in Lavery spent much of the years 1883 to 1884 in the ancient French village of Grez to the south of Fontainebleu. The area housed a number of like-minded artists at this time including a number of the Glasgow Boys. Lavery fondly remembered these as being his ‘happiest days in France’ which is reflected in the art which he produced. Perhaps the best known of his works at this time is The Bridge at Grez of 1883. This period shows Lavery incorporating more sophistication in his work in terms of space and especially atmospheric effects which can clearly be seen in the present work. Lavery spent much of his time experimenting with painting en plein air and produced a number of similar studies in this manner. The picture exudes sunshine with its bright palette and is rendered in a way which is indicative of the artist’s unique skills.