Studio portrait by Dorothy Wilding, signed by both subject and photographer, 1938; together with a copy of Hutton’s privately-printed book of poems, The Wayfarer.
A fine studio portrait of the richest woman in the world, the Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton (1912–1979), the “poor little rich girl” of Noël Coward’s song, who was married seven times, but suffered spousal abuse, anorexia, addiction problems, and died virtually penniless; together with a copy of Hutton’s privately-printed book of poems, The Wayfarer, and a separate framed print of the Edmund Dulac frontispiece portrait from it. The photograph was one of several different poses from a sitting for Dorothy Wilding in her London studio at 22 Old Bond Street in 1938. Wilding was then at the peak of her renown, having taken a series of royal portraits, including the official coronation portrait of George VI in 1937; she opened a second studio in New York the same year. Hutton was in London frequently at this time, having her villa in Regent’s Park rebuilt at huge expense and renamed Winfield Mansion (now the official residence of the US ambassador). The portrait is presented by Wilding in her characteristic stylish manner: the photograph, mounted on different layers of tinted card, is framed by tissue paper; a thick crayon outline surrounds the photograph and her signature is added at the foot. The Wilding art nouveau logo sticker is on the back. The photograph is inscribed by the sitter to her god-daughter Diana Kennerley, “To my favorite little girl Diana, with much love, Auntie Barbara”. The book and framed portrait are also from the Kennerley family estate, although without gift inscription. The Wayfarer is a book of her poems privately published and given by her to friends and relatives, with a colour frontispiece portrait by Edmund Dulac (d. 1953), depicting her about the time of her marriage to Cary Grant in 1942. A number of the poems in the book were clearly written at, or inspired by, Sidi Hosni, her palace in Tangier, where she held legendary parties. Also included is a framed print of the Dulac frontispiece portrait, the scalloped oval of the book version embellished with an outer floral border.
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Together, 3 items. Photograph (223 294 mm) in elaborate gilt frame, glazed. Book in original white vellum lettered and decorated in gilt, printed on art vellum paper, frontispiece portrait by Dulac, gilt edges; original blue-green card slipcase. Together with a print of the frontispiece portrait with additional floral border, framed (by Greville Rhodes, Hambledon, with his ticket). Fine condition.