Gerald Leslie Brockhurst (1890-1978), Portrait of Anais Folin, 1914 (c) Richard Woodward

Portrait of Anais Folin c.1914

pencil on paper, signed

30 x 22.5 cm

Brockhurst attended the Birmingham School of Art from the age of twelve, having been born in the city’s Edgbaston district. His talent for drawing took him to the Royal Academy schools where he won the gold medal and a travel scholarship that enabled him to visit France and Italy, where he studied Renaissance works.

In 1914 Brockhurst married Frenchwoman Anaïs Folin, whom he presumably met on his travels. They moved to Ireland for four years where they befriended Augustus John and his circle. Anaïs became a central figure in her husband’s etched and painted portraits of this period.

During the 1920s etched portraits became Brockhurst’s primary focus, and following a well-received exhibition in 1919 he returned to London and became an early member of the Society of Graphic Art, exhibiting with them.

As Brockhurst became more renowned so did his sitters and he produced painted portraits of the screen stars Marlene Dietrich and Merle Oberon and Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (a work which is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery).

In 1928 Brockhurst became a visiting artist at the Royal Academy Schools and here he met a young student, Kathleen Woodward, whom he renamed Dorette. ‘Dorette’ became his new muse and features in the many of his paintings of the 1930s. Together they moved to the United States and married in 1940, when his acrimonious divorce from Anaïs was finalised.

Brockhurst found wealth and renown as a portrait painter across the Atlantic, living in New York and later settling in New Jersey where he and Dorette lived until his death in 1978.

Anonymous sale; The Fine Art Society Ltd, London, July 1970

Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, Modern & Post-War British Art, 20 November 2018, lot 154, where purchased

The Fine Art Society Ltd, London, 1970.




Lara Wardle