John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Watercolor, gouache, and graphite on white wove paper
13 5/8 x 20 15/16 in. (34.6 x 53.2 cm) Mat: 22 × 28 in. (55.9 × 71.1 cm) Framed (standard exhibition frame): 24 1/2 × 30 1/2 × 1 1/8 in. (62.2 × 77.5 × 2.9 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Francis Ormond, 1950
Not on view
In 1918, Sargent received a commission from the British government for a monumental painting commemorating the joint efforts of American and British troops during World War I. That summer, he traveled to the western front in the valley of the Somme in search of a subject. He painted a number of informal watercolors, including these sketches of British soldiers bathing. The moniker "Tommy" comes from "Thomas Atkins," the fictitious name used by the British Army on official forms for private soldiers—similar to the American "John Doe."
Inscription: [on verso at upper left]: 151 [underlined] / By J.S.Sargent; [at center]: [0?] /3; [at lower left]: V.O. (Trust) / W W; [at lower right]: 990 [encircled]
the artist, until d. 1925; his sisters, Mrs. Francis Ormond (Violet Sargent) and Miss Emily Sargent, until 1936 (Emily Sargent's death); Mrs. Francis Ormond, until 1950