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Gwen John, 1876–1939

The Brown Tea Pot

between 1915 and 1916
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
13 3/16 × 9 1/8 inches (33.5 × 23.2 cm), Frame: 17 × 15 × 1 7/8 inches (43.2 × 38.1 × 4.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Copyright Undetermined
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
book | chair | fireplace | food | furniture | leisure | mantel | newspaper | paintbrushes | still life | table | tea cups | teapot | wallpaper
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

This painting is one of a series of four almost identical works (one of the others is owned by the Yale University Art Gallery) based on a seemingly drab, everyday scene. Although this interior does not feature any human figures, it is haunted by human presence with a teapot, cups and saucers, and a pot of paintbrushes on the mantelpiece. Gwen John, however, seems less interested in constructing a narrative as she is in assembling a tight, subtly colored composition—a legacy of studying with Whistler, who scorned the narrative art beloved by the Victorians and had praised her control of tone.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016
Created by Gwen John (1876-1939), the artist; acquired by Katherine Andrea Cowdin (née Parker) (1895-1978) at Matthiesen Gallery Ltd., London, England, 1946 [1]; acquired by Davis Galleries, New York, New York, 1969; acquired by Paul Mellon (1907-1999); given to the Yale Center for British Art, 2001. Notes: [1] Matthisen then exhibited Brown Tea Pot in its Gwen John Memorial Exhibition as cat. no. 26. See https://www.worldcat.org/title/22253500.

Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris (Pallant House Gallery, 2023-05-13 - 2023-10-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Revisiting Traditions [BAC 20th century painting & sculpture] (Yale Center for British Art, 2002-04-30 - 2005-05-18) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Cecily Langdale, Gwen John : With a Catalogue Raisonne of the Paintings and a Selection of the Drawings, , Yale University Press, New Haven, 1987, pp. 59, 60, 150, No. 50, pl. 203, NJ18 J594 A12 L25 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Pamela Gerrish Nunn, From Victorian to Modern : Innovation and Tradition in the Work of Vanessa Bell, Gwen John and Laura Knight, Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd, London, 2006, pp. 64, 108, fig. 49, N6767.5.V52 N85 2006 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Paul Mellon's Legacy : a passion for British art [large print labels], , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 1, N5220 M552 P381 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Maria Tamboukou, Nomadic narratives, visual forces, Gwen John's letters and paintings , v. 1, Peter Lang, New York, 2010, pp,114 [n.16]..., NJ18 J594 T36 2010 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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