Portrait of the writer Amelia Defries, offered by Sim Fine Art.

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The artist used the name Ellen de Streuve, but was actually Lady Esther Ellerman, the wife of Britain’s wealthiest shipbuilder.

Dealer Andrew Sim of Sim Fine Art, who offers the picture for £5000, says that the picture “slips almost accidentally into the rather woolly catch-all embrace of the term ‘Modern British Art’ simply by virtue of its period and subject matter.

“I’m attracted by the worthiness of its attempt to capture an interesting person doing something engaging and unusual at an extraordinary time.”