Once she was Picasso’s muse, now she is capping her own career of more than 25 years as an artist with a three-week exhibition at The Fosse Gallery in Stow-on-the-Wold.
The name Lydia Corbett may not ring
instant bells when one thinks of Picasso, but how about Sylvette,
or The Girl with the Ponytail?
Now 77 and living in Devon, Sylvette
David, who these days goes by the name Lydia Corbett, was a
stunning 19-year-old blonde living in Vallauris in the South of
France when she met Pablo Picasso in a chance encounter.
Picasso had commissioned several
chairs for his studio from Toby Jellinek, a chair-maker who lived
opposite his studio, and when Jellinek delivered them, he brought
his fiancée, Sylvette David, with him. As history relates, Picasso
was mesmerised by her beauty and innocence and Lydia became one of
his famed muses - but not, as with several other muses, one of his
The Girl with the
Ponytail became the inspiration for over 40
paintings and drawings as well as many ceramic and metal
sculptures, including The Heads of Sylvette, all created
over a period of about three months in 1954.
Sylvette is also credited with influencing
the young Brigitte Bardot to adopt the ponytail as a hairstyle,
thereby making it popular with women all over the world.
Picasso would later decline the
opportunity to paint Bardot, apparently on the grounds that what
she could offer him as a model he had already achieved artistically
That period with Picasso has inspired
a strong undercurrent in Sylvette/Lydia's own work. Since the mid
1980s, she has exhibited all over Britain and Europe and in 2004
conducted a lecture tour and solo exhibition in the United
Her latest collection of watercolours
and oils, titled The Girl with the Ponytail, which opens
at The Fosse Gallery on November 4, shows clear echoes of Sylvette
as Picasso saw her, as well as pieces that recall the work of Marc
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