Cicely Hey (1896-1980)

Sickert's Friend, Model and Pupil

Cicely Hey was born in Oxfordshire and studied at Brussels School of Art, Central School of Arts and Crafts and at the Slade between 1919-20. A painter, designer and printmaker she married Robert R. Tatlock (1889-1954), editor of The Burlington Magazine and later Art Editor of The Daily Telegraph. Hey met Walter Sickert by chance on the 17th January 1923, when she was taking money at the door for tickets to a lecture by Roger Fry. Sickert was immediately attracted by Hey's distinctive and quirky appearance and asked her to sit for him. Hey agreed, and the first sitting was arranged for the following day, 18 January, at Sickert's Fitzroy Street studio. Their friendship blossomed and sittings for portraits continued for many months and Hey remained a close friend of Sickert for the next ten years until he left London for Thanet in 1934.

Although Hey's important association with Sickert has been well recorded, her own paintings, drawings and prints have been largely hidden from view. The Court Gallery is delighted to be showing a collection of Hey's work from her estate for the first time in many decades. Both Sickert and his wife Therese Lessore were admirers of her work, Sickert commenting in a letter  ‘Your little canvases are ripping… my missus agrees with me’. Hey's close friendship with Sickert profoundly affected her working methods and one can see in this collection how much she learnt from her mentor in terms of subject, composition and a commitment to drawing from life.

We are grateful to Madoc Roberts and Janice Goble for preserving this important archive of Hey's work and bringing it to our attention.



May 19, 2022