About this artwork

'High-Steppers' is probably Sickert's last painting to show a theatre scene, one of his favourite subjects. It is his third painting of the Plaza Tiller Girls, a dance troupe who performed at the Plaza cinema in Piccadilly, entertaining the audience before the start of the film. Although Sickert was a frequent visitor to the theatre, he never made any drawings or paintings there; instead, he preferred to work from press photographs. All three paintings of the Plaza Tiller Girls were based on a photograph which appeared in The Evening News in 1927.

  • title: High-Steppers
  • accession number: GMA 2099
  • artist: Walter Richard SickertEnglish (1860 - 1942)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Dance Performing Arts
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1938 - 1939
  • measurements: 132.00 x 122.50 cm (framed: 149.50 x 139.50 x 10.00 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1979
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

Walter Richard Sickert

Walter Richard Sickert

Sickert was born in Munich to parents of Danish origin but British nationality. He settled in London with his parents in 1868. Sickert initially trained as an actor but in 1881 he began studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, London. He was a pupil of Whistler and also worked with Degas in Paris two years later. Degas influenced Sickert's use of informal compositions and subject matter, particularly his fondness for theatre scenes. In the late 1920s, Sickert would often select images from newspapers to make into paintings, squaring them up to transfer straight onto canvas.