Odds and quads

This "lay figure", or life-sized artist's model, belonged to Walter Sickert (1860-1942), the English Post-Impressionist whose images of drab female nudes and murdered prostitutes have led to claims that he was involved in the Jack the Ripper murders.

Sickert taught for most of his life; in later years at the Bath School of Art and Design, now part of Bath Spa University. The figure, which he used as a teaching aid, was donated to the university in 1942.

It was recently found in the library vault in a state of disrepair and has now been restored.

It is said that the model was once owned by William Hogarth. Although there is no real evidence for this claim, it certainly dates back to the 18th century and is made of stained wood with articulated joints.

It was given to Sickert by his brother-in-law, Major Frederick Lessore, who owned the Beaux Arts Gallery in London.

The figure helped to inspire a major painting, The Raising of Lazarus (1928-29). Sickert got a local undertaker to wrap the model in a shroud, while he posed as Christ and asked a model to act as Lazarus' sister. The first version was painted on to the wallpaper of Sickert's London studio.

Send suggestions for this series on the sector's treasures, oddities and curiosities to: matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

  • Man measuring bar graphs with tape measure

An Elsevier analysis explores the viability of a ‘smarter and cheaper’ model

  • David Willetts

The former universities minister discusses the reforms that reshaped higher education and his first steps into academia

  • Man holding a box filled with work-related items

Refusal by John Allen to obey instruction from manager at Queen Mary University of London led to his sacking, tribunal rules

  • A black and white crowd scene with a few people highlighted

What are the key issues local union branches are dealing with, and how do they manage relationships with institutions in what many activists argue is an increasingly confrontational environment?

  • Unlocked open door

Publisher’s open access policy unleashes public display of disagreement