Mrs. Atkinson (Gwen John)

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Mrs. Atkinson
Mrs. Atkinson MET 1979.135.27.jpg
ArtistGwen John Edit this on Wikidata
Yearc. 1897
MediumOil paint, panel
Dimensions30.5 cm (12.0 in) × 31.1 cm (12.2 in)
LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art
Accession No.1979.135.27 Edit this on Wikidata
IdentifiersThe Met object ID: 481922

Mrs. Atkinson is a painting (portrait) by Gwen John. It is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[1]

Description and interpretation[edit]

The work depicts John's cleaning woman, Mrs. Atkinson, sitting in a room covered with flocked wallpaper.[2] There is a sheep skull on the mantelpiece, though this is not thought to have symbolic meaning.[3]

Simon Schama writes that she is "glancing anxiously sideways, uncertain of what is wanted of her."[2] The painting was exhibited at the New English Art Club in the spring of 1900, marking a strong phase of her career that also saw her Self-portrait on display there about that time.[3] It is considered among the "carefully executed tonal paintings of rather detailed genre subjects" in her first mature oil works.[4]


  1. ^ "Mrs. Atkinson". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  2. ^ a b Schama, Simon (2016). The Face of Britain: A History of the Nation Through Its Portraits. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190621896.
  3. ^ a b Taubman, Mary (1985). Gwen John, the artist and her work. Cornell University Press. p. 24.
  4. ^ Gaze, Delia (2013-04-03). Concise Dictionary of Women Artists. Routledge. p. 386. ISBN 9781136599019.