John Singer Sargent -- Letters  (Frontpage)

From Sargent to Ralph Curtis 

Ralph Curtis on the Beach at Scheveningen

No more paughtraits [1] whether refreshed or not. I abhor and abjure them and hope never to do another especially of the Upper Classes. I have weakly compromised and lately done a lot of mugs in coke and charcoal and am sick of that too, although occasionally the brief operation has been painless. I am winding up my worldly affairs in that line and now I shall be able to paint nothing but Jahovah in Fulham Road[2}.  His friends all call Him Jah, Whereas may you and the Dogaressa [Mrs. Ralph Curtis] and the children merit and receive his fatherly attention and flourish under his care.



(Letter to Ralph Curtis, quoated in Charteris; p. 155, The date of the letter is not established by Charteris but would be around c. 1905-1907)

The spelling of "paughtraits" by Sargent was always deliberate. Spelled phonetically, it stood for the manner of "Society's" pronunciation with nose clearly up. The thing is, he never really was able to completely stop doing portraits, and even less able to stop the "mugs." For more on that see The End of Portraits


Fulham Road was Sargent's second studio in London.