Francis Helps ( 1890 - 1972 )

Two portrait studies of Howard Somervell

Two portrait studies of Howard Somervell

pencil on paper
11 1/5 x 9in. (29.2 x 22.8cm.)
14 x 10in. (25.4 x 35.6cm.)
signed, inscribed and dated Tibet 1924

See full inscriptions below. 

Two portrait drawings by Francis Helps on the Mount Everest 1924 Expedition on which he served as official artist. The expedition saw Mallory and Irvine lose their lives close to the summit in June 1924. Helps’ expedition work was exhibited at the Alpine Club Gallery in 1925 (Exhibition of Paintings and Photographs by Francis Helps and Capt. J. B. L. Noel from the Mount Everest Expedition 1924, Jan.-Feb. 1925). Helps was trained at the Slade School of Art under Henry Tonks and Fred Brown, and served in France with the Artists’ Rifles in the Great War. He taught at the Royal College of Art in the 1930s and was elected a member of the Royal Society of British Artists in 1933.

The first inscribed on the reverse: ‘2 A visited us selling “Favourite House” cigarettes 2 / a 1000! / I bought 10,000 for my sherpas.’ / ‘1 Somervell smoking they all smoked a lot / on the expedition, conversation was very learned, / Mallory was academic, and revolutionary / I had a tent of my own. I had to make 20,000ft of film’.

The second signed, inscribed and dated ‘Tibet 24 / Francis Helps’ lower right, and further inscribed and numbered ‘Dr Howard Somervell / training as a doctor, skilled surgeon, / from lake district area. Own K Boot Co / Kemble. / 32’

Francis Helps