Jean Shepeard portrait
A pencil sketch portrait of Jean Shepeard by Ronald Ossory Dunlop – estimated at £200-300 at Batemans.

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The works have come from the estate of her niece, the sculptor Doreen Kern (1931-2021) and includes over 600 original sketches which will be offered as 35 lots in a dedicated online only auction.

In her early days, Shepeard trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art sharing a flat with Peggy Ashcroft and joining the Emotionist group of painters, musicians, philosophers, poets and actors.

Although she had a successful stage career (appearing in productions alongside John Gielgud, Anthony Quayle and Sybil Thorndike as well the 1942 film Thunder Rock with Michael Redgrave and James Mason), she was also a talented artist. She became a fringe member of the Bloomsbury set, exhibiting with Vanessa Bell at the Modern Picture Library. She also showed her works with Francis Bacon and Roi de Mestre at Bacon's Queensbury Mews rooms in 1930 – the only woman to ever exhibit with Bacon.

Among the works on offer is a pencil portrait of Jean Shepeard by Ronald Ossory Dunlop (1894-1973). As well as being lovers, Dunlop supported her to paint and exhibited alongside her at the Modern Picture Library.

The 7.5 x 4.5in x (20 x 12cm) drawing is estimated at £200-300.

The sale also features a collection of Shepeard’s sketches of Dunlop as well as original photographs of the Irish artist and a copy of his autobiography with a handwritten dedication to Shepeard.

Another lot in the auction is an archive of Shepeard’s letters and photographs, containing two still photographs of Bacon’s 1930s Kings Road flat which is estimated at £200-300.

A sketchbook containing previously unseen ‘possible’ portrait of Francis Bacon is also pitched at the same level.

With many items in the collection relating to people in her social circle, one of the candid photographs on offer features Shepeard with Aldous Huxley, a rare picture of the author of Brave New World author without his spectacles.