The Bather

The Bather, c.1930
Thomas Ronaldson (1881-1942)
Oil on Canvas
BORGM 01890
© Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum

Morning Room 

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The Bather

This delightful study of a young woman looking out to sea fits the location of the Russell-Cotes perfectly. It is a world away from 19th century paintings of the nude, which tried to disguise the subject under the pretext of a classical or mythological subject.

Our subject here (the name of the model is not known) has the chic bobbed hair of the late 1920s / early 1930s period and the artist’s concentration on the woman’s athletic form illustrates that era’s concern with cult of the body beautiful. The title of the work The Bather invites you to admire the sitter’s fine physique. In contrast to Spray, The Bather exudes a spirit of calm and contemplation. The painting was gifted to the museum in 1948.

Ronaldson was born in Edinburgh in 1891 and educated in Edinburgh and at Trinity College, Oxford. He studied at Edinburgh School of Art, the Cope and Nicol School in London and Académie Julian in Paris where he won a Silver Medal in 1926. Ronaldson was mainly known as a portrait painter and one of his famous sitters was no other than Anna Zinkeisen, whose ceiling mural we can admire here in the Morning Room.

 

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