That Old-fashioned Mother of Mine, 1928
Walter Richard Sickert
Danish, British, 1860
etching on laid paper
26 x 19.9 cm; plate: 19.5 x 14.9 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 17950)
Dressed as a dapper man-about-town with his signature top hat and monocle, Talbott O'Farrell (1880-1952) belts out his hit song of 1919-20, including the famous lyrics: "Though she wears no fine cloths or no rich silken hose / Still there's something that makes her divine / For the Angels above taught the way how to love / To that old-fashioned mother of mine." Based on an earlier painting, this etching was published by the Leicester Galleries in 1928. Sickert achieves extraordinary visual textures and a surprising range of grey tones by applying a grid of horizontal and vertical lines combined with diagonals for the more richly inked, darker passages.