'Never did a painter's performance speak more clearly for itself. There is something beyond the mere portrait, a decorative quality, an aptitude of line and mass and a harmonious ensemble of colour often daringly original, that place them in the higher category of works of art, and this is never the result of flashy accident, but the outcome of much pondering and intelligent brain work.'
H. Granville Fell
Joyce Rigby with David Jagger, London 1939
Self Portrait 1912
The Jade Necklace 1923
David Jagger (1891-1958)
David was apprenticed to a large commercial print workshop in Sheffield. An accomplished draughtsman and skilled illustrator he won a scholarship to Sheffield Technical School of Art (1906-1912), becoming a medal-winning student in mural design and painting. On the completion of his studies he spent two years earning a living as a watercolourist, producing views of the surrounding Derbyshire countryside as well as commissioned portraits in pastels. In 1914 he followed his elder brother, Charles to London, where he obtained employment in a commercial art studio. He avoided conscritpion in 1916 on health grounds 'due to a severe childhood illness', keeping his strong pacifist beliefs to himself. His first Royal Academy paintings were shown in 1917, an association he continued annually throughout his life. His often austere and highly finished society portraits brought him immediate acclaim and the financial success enabled him to relinqish his employment as a designer and focus on establishing his own portrait studio in Chelsea.
In 1921 he married Katherine Gardiner, the sitter in many of his finest early works. He was elected a member of several exhibiting societies including the Royal Society of British Artists, The Portrait Society and the Royal Institute of Oil Painters. Throughout the 1930s his high society portraiture was in great demand, for which there was often a waiting list. He produced many notable portraits, including Queen Mary, Lord Baden-Powell, Winston Churchill, Vivien Leigh and Dame Nellie Melba. Continued critical and commercial success led to a substantive solo exhibition at the Leger Galleries, London (1935). He later organised and promoted the touring exhibtion 'The Art of the Jagger Family' (1939/40). At the end of World War Two his output decreased dramatically, although he maintained an annual presence at the Royal Academy. He died at his Chelsea home in 1958, aged 67.