William Roberts: Portrait of May Berry



Portrait of May Berry

Illustration © The Estate of John David Roberts. Reproduced with the permission of the William Roberts Society. Catalogue information based on the catalogue raisonné by David Cleall. For this and full details of the exhibitions cited, see the links below. Any auction prices quoted may not include all fees and taxes, such as VAT and Artist's Resale Right charges.

Portrait of May Berry

Portrait of May Berry, c.1933
Oil on canvas, 55.6 cm x 45.5 cm

May Berry was probably the Mrs Berry who sold Roberts's oil The Park Bench 1933 through Sotheby's on 6 April 1960 and the wife of the 'Joe Berry' mentioned in a notebook of John Roberts's as 'A civil servant, no children, which enabled him to collect modern firsts, signed and limited . . . His books lined a wall and more of his flat overlooking the Thames. We went over to see the Boat Race from his windows . . . The Berrys visited Haverstock Hill [where the Robertses lived in 1929–35]. After tea in the garden, S[arah Roberts] and Mrs B went up to prepare supper, Berry and WR were discussing politics.' 'Joe Berry' would appear to refer to Arthur Edwin Berry, who in 1922 passed the Civil Service 'Clerical Class (Men)' examination and was employed at the Inland Revenue and, according to electoral registers, in the early 1930s was living at 58 Upper Mall – overlooking the Thames at Hammersmith – with May Berry.
PROVENANCE: The sitter > ? (by descent) > Christie's 21 Mar. 2018 > Liss Llewellyn Fine Art (£12,500)

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