The Old Shawl

Janet Cumbrae Stewart

The Old Shawl by Janet Cumbrae Stewart


Janet Cumbrae Stewart
The Old Shawl
pastel on paper
35 x 27 cm

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Further Information

In The Old Shawl we see a device favoured by Cumbrae Stewart, with a shawl draped over the model’s shoulder, providing a contrast between the richly coloured material and the soft flesh tones, offset by the model’s dark hair. With her head turned to the right, allowing for a tension in the pose where the left shoulder, right elbow and the gentle profile are highlighted.

This work appears to be a study for a pastel dated 1927, which sold through Sothebys in 2007, Nude with Shawl, showing the same material over the model’s right shoulder.

Cumbrae Stewart’s work comprised portraits, landscapes, and still lifes, particularly flower studies however she is most well known for depicting the female nude in pastel. These works were not driven by a narrative focus, rather the sensuous and gracefulness of the figure with a focus on colour and texture.

Cumbrae Stewart’s artwork is today viewed through a lens acknowledging her lesbian sexual preferences, providing another layer of intimacy to her celebration of the female form.