Portrait of Marshal Foch by Cecil Cutler, 1920
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Overall: 29.5cm (11.75in) x 21cm (8.25in)
Watercolour on paper. A spirited head and shoulders study of Marshal Foch in uniform tunic and kepi. Signed lower right ‘Cecil Cutler’. Contained in period gilt wood glazed frame.
Marshal Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch (1851-1929) earned a reputation as an aggressive, even reckless commander at the First Battle of the Marne, and in the Flanders, and Artois campaigns of 1914-1916. He became the Allied Commander-in-Chief in 1918 and successfully coordinated the French, British, American, and Italian efforts into a coherent whole, deftly handling his strategic reserves. He played a decisive role in halting a renewed German advance on Paris in the Second Battle of the Marne, after which he was promoted to Marshal of France. On 11 November 1918 Foch accepted the German request for an armistice. He advocated peace terms that would make Germany unable to pose a threat to France ever again. Foch considered the Treaty of Versailles too lenient on Germany and as the Treaty was being signed on 28 June 1919, he declared: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years". His words proved prophetic: the Second World War started twenty years and 64 days later.
Cecil Egerton Seymour Cutler (1861-1934), the son of a War Office clerk, was born in Putney, and worked as an illustrator, portrait painter and sculptor. He specialised in portraits of sportsmen, personalities of the day and royalty, his work being published in The Sketch, Bystander and other illustrated magazines over the course of a thirty-year career. In the 1890s he worked from premises at 175 New Bond Street, and later settled in West London. In 1894 he exhibited a collection of his ‘up-to-date sketches and portraits’ at Reynolds Gallery in St James’s Street, gaining plaudits for his ‘smart delineation of men and modes - no twist of moustache or turn of a lace parasol escaping his critical observant pencil.’ His particular skill as a portraitist led to collaborative works such as a painting of Lord Henry, 18th Baron Willoughby de Broke, on his retirement as master of the Warwickshire Hunt, wherein Cutler painted the figure of Lord Henry, and Frank Paton (1856-1909), who was predominantly an animal painter, completed the picture by painting the hunter and hounds. As a public image maker, Cutler’s works were well received by the Royal Family, and several of his portraits of Edward VII, George V and Edward VIII as Prince of Wales can be found in the Royal Collection