Taking in Washing, Elsie – 1943-44

Drawing, pencil, 16in x 11in

Volume 2 of the Astor Collection of Drawings
As Elsie collects stockings, a Holy Ghost figure holds a basket of pegs and Stanley kneels by the fence with his sketchbook. In 1941 he had already described how he was ‘interested in the way she took stockings off the line, she quickly took several of the feet of the stockings into her hand, which caused them to become fan-shaped and then unpegged them so that they flopped over her arms & shoulders like dead leavesā€¦’. He discussed his feelings for Elsie in the Scrapbooks: ‘Although [she] was “just” a servant we had & a very good one, she was something that has been a great part of my thought. If there was any affection it was never made known…Both loved our work & life & could therefore sincerely sympathize & compare notes. If there was a family outing all would be well if left to her to arrangeā€¦’.

Lent by a private collector