Robert Stewart Sherriffs - Frances Day - 1930s original illustration of a Jazz Performer

GBP 850.00

Contact Dealer To Purchase

Object Description


Frances Day

Watercolour and ink heightened with white

53 by 33 cm.; 21 by 13 in.

Frances Day (1908-1984) was born in East Orange, New Jersey USA. Her real name was Frances Victoria Schenck. Her career began in New York when at the age of 16 she was dancing the Charleston in a speakeasy. Working as a nightclub singer she was spotted by the impresario, Beaumont Alexander who moved her to London in the late 1920s and transformed her into a platinum blonde, exotic cabaret star. A forerunner of Marilyn Monroe and Britain’s first blonde bombshell she soon became the idol of film fans and theatregoers and a stage and screen sex symbol. Flagrantly bisexual, she is said to have become the mistress of four royal princes and Anthony Eden, the future British Prime Minister and her female admirers included Tallulah Bankhead, Marlene Dietrich and Eleanor Roosevelt. George Bernard Shaw wrote one his last plays, Buoyant Billions, for her. She performed along side John Mills, Frederick Ashton, Flanagan and Allen and many others. Her career waned after the war and she eventually settled into obscurity living in Berkshire where she died in 1984.

Born in Edinburgh, Sherriffs was educated at Arbroath High School and studied at Edinburgh College of Art, initially specializing in heraldry. He contributed to several magazines, and his caricature of John Barrymore in the Bystander led to a series of illustrations of celebrities for the Sketch which resulted in his being appointed the magazine’s film and theatre caricaturist from 1930 onwards. He also contributed weekly drawings to the Radio Times. He was expected to replace Will Dyson as the editorial cartoonist to the Daily Herald, but instead the position went to his friend, George Whitelaw. After serving with the Tank Regiment in WW2, in 1948, he succeeded J H Dowd as film caricaturist on Punch until his death. He illustrated a few books; and was also an accomplished cricketer.

Sherriff described his own distinctive style of drawing: “The brush was better than the pen for all manner of drawings, and confirmed my previous conviction that figures and faces were patterns to be studied and memorised – not patiently drawn from life. I regarded caricatures as designs, and the expressions on faces merely as changes in a basic pattern”.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)207 602 1959

Dealer Location

London, UK

View Map