Walter Sickert (1860-1942) is seen as a major figure within the history of British painting and yet drawing lay at the core of his creative process. Sickert drew constantly in order to capture the new subjects of his work - theatrical interiors, the stage and highly-charged domestic dramas such as The Camden Town Murder.
Over 150 works represented every form of drawing Sickert made, from quick sketches drawn in the darkness of the theatre, to considered drawings made in preparation for prints and paintings. Sickert's depictions of couples in an interior are rightly recognised as his major achievement and this body of work forms the central part of the exhibition. Also featured were examples of drawings clearly used by Sickert in his teaching work, including an evening class in Manchester in the 1920s. As part of this section, Sickert's lay figure, a fully restored life-size articulated figure reputedly having belonged to Hogarth, was being displayed for the first time.
The extensive loan exhibition of Sickert's drawings offered an unrivalled insight into his techniques, themes and, most importantly, his reasons for drawing.
A fully illustrated catalogue, Walter Sickert: 'drawing is the thing' with more than 200 illustrations, and 166 pages including 8 essays by experts on Sickert's work, these being Wendy Baron, Ruth Bromberg, Rebecca Daniels, Anna Gruetzner Robins, Alistair Smith and Matthew Sturgis, accompanied the exhibition.