- Presented by the Canterbury Society of Arts, 1932
- Oil on canvas
- 570 x 460 x 55mm
The evident discomfort of Marie Seymour Lucas’s unflinching young sitter encourages the viewer to ask who the “Tyrant” of the work’s title was, and what was this particular artist-model relationship? Had this been a sitting filled with pouting and tantrums, thereby an almost impossible task for the painter? Or was the tormenter referred to in truth the painter, expecting unreasonable compliance from the overdressed child? Marie Seymour Lucas (née Cornelissen) was born in Paris and studied there, in Germany and in London, where in 1877 she began showing her work and was married to the painter John Seymour Lucas. (Their daughter, born 1879, is probably not this painting’s subject.) The Tyrant was exhibited in London in the 1887 Royal Academy summer show and then in 1888 with the Canterbury Society of Arts; one of five works chosen by Academy president Frederic Leighton as worthy examples of painting for students of art in Christchurch.
(Persistent Encounters, March 2020)