Artist Rachel Reckitt: Girl having her hair combed, c.1960

Artist Rachel Reckitt (1908 - 1995): Girl having her hair combed, c.1960

 Privately held

Rachel Reckitt (1908 - 1995):
Girl having her hair combed, c.1960
Framed (ref: 1381)
Oil on board 

39 1/2 x 29 1/4 in. (100 x 74 cm.)

See all works by Rachel Reckitt oil panel allegory interiors Metropolitan 2.50 50 PART TWO 49 pictures Modern British Art at Mercers' Hall Rediscovering Women Artist WOMEN

Provenance: Private collection, Norfolk
In orginal wooden batten frame with linen slip

This striking composition was painted around 1960 in the basement kitchen of a large house on the canal side near Regent's Park, London. The model was a Nigerian student nurse.   The painting is one of a series of conversation pieces that the artist undertook in the 1960's, which included subjects such as boys on bicycles, queues at bakers, gossiping women in the street. 

For the subject of this painting Reckitt might well have been inspired by The Maids 
(Les Bonnes) a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet, first performed at the Théâtre de l'Athénée in Paris in a production that opened on 17 April 1947.  In turn Reckitt's painting might have been the inspiration for Paula Reago's 'The Maids' which bears a striking resemblance:

Reckitt was a highly individual and versatile artist working as a painter, sculptor - in mild steel, wood, and stone - and print maker.  She was born in St Albans, Hertfordshire and studied at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art in late 1930s under lain Macnab, and in 1970-75 at the Roadwater Smithy, Somerset, with Harry and Jim Horrobin.  After training Reckitt worked from home in west Somerset at Rodhuish, Minehead. She carried out commissions for pub signs; wood-engraved book illustrations and single prints; and did sculpture in five Somerset churches and for private commission. She was an honorary member of the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen and SWE and a member of British Artist Blacksmiths' Association. Other group shows included Wertheim Gallery and LG. Had solo exhibitions at Duncan Campbell Contemporary Art and Bridgwater Arts Centre. A retrospective publication, Rachel Reckitt: where everything that meets the eye... appeared in zoos, Hal Bishop's survey of her work, supported by Somerset County Museums Service and the Golsoncott Foundation, accompanying shows in Taunton, Glastonbury and Exeter. Public collections in Salford and Bridgwater hold examples, as do Withycombe, Old Cleeve and Leighland.

We are grateful to Hal Bishop for assistance and the Golsoncott Foundation (who hold Reckitt's copyright).  Additionally we are grateful to Rebecca and Alistair Hicks.

Exhibited:  Rachel Reckitt, 'Where Everything that meets the eye ... A retrospective', 2001.