• Portrait of Isabel Rawsthorne, 1966




    Isabel Rawsthorne (1912 - 1992)
    also known as Isabel Lambert, was a model and painter.

    Isabel Nichols was born in the east end of London, but brought up in Liverpool where she studied at the Liverpool School of Art. Jacob Epstein used her as a model in the early thirties (the bronze bust "Isabel" 1933). Her second husband was Sefton Delmer, a journalist. They lived in Paris, and there she became a model for Giacometti and Picasso. By 1945 this relationship had broken down. Her third husband was composer Constant Lambert. She painted set scenery for his last work, the ballet Tiresias, created for the Festival of Britain. They married in 1947, but he died in 1951. In 1952 she married another composer Alan Rawsthorne, a drinking friend of Constant Lambert. Isabel then became a model for Francis Bacon. He was a noted homosexual, yet according to Paris Match, Francis Bacon said "You know, I also made love to Isabel Rawsthorne, a very beautiful woman who was Derain's model and Georges Bataille's girlfriend.". His most famous portrait of her is "Three Studies of Isabel Rawsthorne" (1966). According to Norman Lebrecht, she "matched her husbands for drink, swore like a navvy and was a fine painter besides". Her early works do not survive, but she was painting in a neo-Romantic style while married to Constant Lambert. She painted skeletons of birds, and later ballet dancers.


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