Executed in 1919, the present large scale work is a deeply symbolic picture, with the impact of the end of the First World War clearly influencing the iconography and mood. The sitter, possibly painted after the artist's sister, if not the artist herself, is said to be mourning her lost husband, presumably killed in the First World War. Her forlorn and melancholic appearance is echoed in the colorless gloom of what appears to be an empty battlefield behind, possibly based on those of Northern France, bleached by a hazy sun, with the contrasting 'poppy' red color of her dress representing the fallen soldiers. Like much of Hawksley's paintings of the 1920s, the solid colors and bold outlines show the influence of Japanese woodblock prints, and the work of her close friend Frederick Cayley Robinson (1862-1927). Inspired greatly by the Burne-Jones memorial exhibition in1898, Hawksley later trained at the Royal Academy Schools in 1906, where she was awarded a silver medal for a drawing from life and the Landseer Scholarship in 1908. She began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1909 and continued to show there almost every year until 1964.
babyfemale artistmother and childwomanwatercolor and bodycolortouches of graphite