This portrait of Hodgkins’ friend, Elsie Barling, was done when they were staying in a cottage in Sussex around 1931. According to Barling, she was descending the little winding staircase, and the artist asked to stay where she was for a moment while she drew her. The work was later given to a fellow guest, Dorothy Selby, with the inscription ‘Of a friend to a friend by a friend’. Hodgkins had a great love of patterned fabrics, which must have been of considerable help when she worked for six months in Manchester as a fabric designer in 1925. (Frances Hodgkins - Leitmotif, 2005)
Signed lower right: Frances Hodgkins
Inscribed (on mount; no longer in situ): To Dorothy Selby Xmas 1931 To a friend of a friend by a friend
Miss Dorothy Selby, acquired from the artist.
Presented to Auckland City Art Gallery (now Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki), New Zealand, by Mr Gerald Selby on behalf of the Estate of Dorothy Selby, 1954.
1954; Frances Hodgkins and Her Circle
1959; The Paintings and Drawings by Frances Hodgkins
2005; Frances Hodgkins - Leitmotif
2019; Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys
E H McCormick, Works of Frances Hodgkins in New Zealand, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland, 1954| p. 206
E H McCormick, Portrait of Frances Hodgkins, Auckland University Press, Auckland, 1981| p. 109 (ill.)
Joanne Drayton, Frances Hodgkins: A Private Viewing, Godwit, Auckland, 2005| p. 222 (colour ill.)
Mary Kisler, Frances Hodgkins: Leitmotif, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Auckland, 2005| p. 12 (colour ill. 6)