Portrait of Gerald Caldwell Siordet


Portrait of Gerald Caldwell Siordet (England, 1916)

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Oil on canvas
Signed lower left


101.50cm high
76.00cm wide
(39.96 inches high)
(29.92 inches wide)
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Private collection, England

Description / Expertise

The Siordet family retains a preliminary drawing for the portrait, dated Sept 1916 and inscribed with the sitter's name.

Glyn Philpot was born in London and from 1900 studied at the Lambeth School of Art. He first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1904 and the following year left for Paris to study under J. P. Laurens. On his return to London, the young artist began to be associated with the ‘Edwardian aesthetes’ who included authors and writers such as Virginia Woolf, Clive Bell and John Singer Sargent. The tonal elegance of his early portraiture was highly respected within these circles. Philpot became one of the most financially successful portrait painters of his generation; achieving prominence in both Britain and America. He became a Royal Academician and a trustee for the Tate Gallery, which holds a number of his works in its permanent collection.

Gerald Caldwell Siordet (1885-1917) came from a well known Huguenot family who had emigrated to London in the 18th Century from an area on the French-Swiss border near Geneva. The family were merchants, shipping agents and bankers in the city of London. Siordet’s father, George Crosbie Siordet, was a merchant with the company Siordet and Meyer.

Gerald Siordet was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and Balliol College, Oxford. After coming down from Oxford he sought to make his way in London as a poet, artist and critic. He found a variety of work to do with the arts in London, including positions with the New English Art Club, the Fine Art Society and the Medici Society, the Victoria and Albert Museum (where he was engaged in cataloging the ivory collections), and by writing freelance reviews, for example for The Studio and other art magazines.

Siordet included several well known artists amongst his circle of friends, including Glyn Philpot, Gerald Spencer-Pryce, Henry Justice Ford, John Singer Sargent, and Brian Hatton. Indeed, Philpot, Sargent and Hatton all produced portraits of him.

At the outbreak of war, Siordet volunteered for the Army and joined as a private. Later he was promoted as an officer "on the field" in France and received the Military Cross. He was killed in Mesopotamia in February 1917.

After Siordets death Glyn Philpot arranged for a volume of his poetry and drawings to be published privately for his sister (Vera Siordet). Two of his poems were printed in The Times under the name Gerald Caldwell.