May’s Object of the Month is this stunning portrait by Augustus John which hangs in the Dining Room here at Shaw’s Corner. Here is Shaw writing from Coole Park in Ireland to Frances Chesterton, storyteller and writer, and the wife of Shaw’s great friend G K Chesterton one hundred years ago today.
c/o Lady Gregory, Coole Park. Gort. Co. Galway
5th May 1915
My dear Mrs Chesterton…
I shall return to England next week. This is a lovely place; but one loses all disposition to work, and can hardly bear to wash oneself. I should have been back a week ago; but Lady Gregory insisted that Augustus John should paint a portrait of me. John exported himself for that purpose, but fell among convivial spirits and was lost on the way for a whole week. He arrived in a contrite and somewhat shattered condition on Sunday and has since painted and obliterated no less that three masterpieces. Like Penelope, he gets up early and undoes the work of the day before. But the sitter will strike presently: besides, my vanity rebels against being immortalized as an elderly caricature of myself.
Lawrence, D H (Ed) (1985), Bernard Shaw Collected Letters 1911 – 1925, Max Reinhardt, London.