In a comment appended to my blog entry about Lydia Sokolova, a British reader wrote the following:
"I have a beautiful little original painting inscribed to Lydia's daughter Natasha by the artist Theyre Lee Elliott which I came across in a box of rubbish (!) at a jumble sale. It seems that it was given to her by the artist as a Xmas present back in the 50's and it shows two dancers. Very sad to think that one of her possessions ended up in a jumble sale but I now enjoy it every day - it's a very evocative and touching painting."
My curiosity piqued, I contacted the reader and asked if he could send me a photo of the painting and whether he would mind if I displayed it on my blog. He replied with the following additional information:
"As I mentioned, I discovered it (the painting) in a box of rubbish under a table at a local 'attic' (jumble) sale about 8 years ago. It cost me fifty pence. At the time it was so dusty that I thought it was probably just a postcard that somebody had framed but somehow the thing spoke to me and, after all, it was a modest investment. On returning home, I stripped the frame down to find this most beautiful painting and an inscription: "To Natasha Sokolova, with love and best wishes for Christmas, Theyre". It took me a long time to research it but the process was a pleasure as every new discovery was another piece in the jigsaw. Now I have more of the story but the painting is so moving that I still wonder whether there is a romantic connection between the painter who I now know to be Theyre Lee Elliott (see his lovely book, 'Paintings Of The Ballet') and Natasha, who I like to think is one of the dancers in the picture."
I felt moved by the tale of this painting which might well have been forever lost had not the right person ended up with it and taken the time to do the necessary research. My thanks to J.E.
Portrait of the artist: Theyre Lee Elliott.