Frederick Cayley Robinson (1862 - 1927)

The Two Sisters Sold

Pencil and coloured chalks on buff paper.
Framing lines in pencil.
Signed CAYLEY ROBINSON at the lower left and signed and dated CAYLEY / ROBINSON . 1908 at the lower right.
156 x 246 mm. (6 1/8 x 9 5/8 in.)


With some differences, the poses and arrangement of the three figures in this drawing are repeated in two larger, finished compositions by Cayley Robinson, one of the same year and the other drawn several years later. The group appears at the lower right corner of a large tempera painting entitled Reminescence, also dated 1908, which was formerly owned by artist’s friend Cecil French and is today in the collection of the Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, while a later variant of the composition is found in a gouache drawing entitled The Renunciants, dated 1916, in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

A few months after its exhibition in London in December 1908, this drawing was illustrated in an article in the magazine The Studio, in which the writer noted that ‘Even in his more everyday subjects…the significance of the picture seems not to lie in the scene, but the feeling that the fates themselves are concealed – that something is portending. The figures seem to be standing at the margin of an imaginary world, without passing into it, and a knowledge of destiny is seen in their eyes. In the picture The Two Sisters all the figures look as if they felt that they were watched by some invisible watcher.’

The present sheet once belonged to the landscape painter Samuel John ‘Lamorna’ Birch (1869-1955), whom Cayley Robinson would have met in Cornwall.

Carfax & Co. Ltd., London, in 1908
Samuel John ‘Lamorna’ Birch, Lamorna, Cornwall
Thence by descent until 1998
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 30 September 1998, lot 60 (as The Puritans)
The Maas Gallery, London
Private collection, Spain.

T. Martin Wood, ‘Some Recent Work by Mr. Cayley Robinson’, The Studio, April 1910, pp.204-205, illustrated.


The Two Sisters

  • Name: *
  • E-mail: *
  • Phone:
  • Comment: