Henry thomas

The women’s lips are pursed; the men’s are kissable: Glyn Philpot at Pallant House reviewed

Of all the photos of artists in the studio, the one of Glyn Philpot being served a martini by his white-jacketed Jamaican model Henry Thomas must be the strangest. Taken to publicise his 1934 exhibition, it would be unthinkable now but in the circles Philpot moved in at the time it might, I suppose, have been viewed as cool. For 20 years Philpot had been London’s leading portraitist, a position he inherited from Sargent. His sitters included admirals – four during the first world war – and King Fuad of Egypt, who commissioned a ‘dignified, decent, usual and rather sumptuous’ portrait from the 38-year-old artist for £3,000 in 1923, the