While that picture from 1917 made £94,000 at Bonhams in November 2015 – a record subsequently broken when a self-portrait also sold at Bonhams for £180,000 in June 2017 – the latest portrait to emerge came at Lyon & Turnbull’s Modern Made live online sale in London on October 29.
Depicting Thelma Bader, the wife of Second World War fighter pilot Douglas Bader, it dated from 1942. It was painted at a time when her husband was a prisoner of war in Saxony and was part of a series of portraits by Jagger of female sitters designed to “reflect strength and fortitude during a time of adversity”. It was reproduced as a cover image for the Women’s Journal magazine in May 1942.
Sadly, many of Jagger’s portraits from this period were lost when his Chelsea studio took heavy damage during the Blitz. However, this 19½ x 16½in (50 x 42cm) oil on canvas was painted at the Baders’ home in Bagshot, Surrey, where it remained and thus survived the war intact.
Coming to auction from a Glasgow vendor with an estimate of £7000-9000, it overshot this level and was knocked down at £19,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium).
The work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Jagger’s work by author and art historian Timothy Dickson.