Oil Painting of F. Matthias Alexander
See details about copyright and available versions of this picture below
This original oil painting by Ruth Beardmore was given to Alexander
by the artist. Alexander later gave it to Dorothy Morrison, a friend and Alexander teacher
in South Africa (Dorothy was in one of Alexander's early training classes). After her death
in 1988 it was sold to an art gallery in Johannesburg and acquired by Neil Schapera,
another Alexander Technique teacher,
(size: 800 pixels x 574 pixels, dots/inch: 96, filesize: 127Kb) See copyright info
There is a story that it was painted from sittings and originally showed him with a cigar in his left
hand. Upon seeing the finished portrait, Alexander requested that the cigar be painted out (hence the spread
fingers)... A charming story, though probably someone's imagination as I have recently had communication with John Morrison, the son of
Dorothy Morrison, who says that it was a characteristic pose
of Alexander's and points as evidence to another photo from around 1910 showing his hands
in more or less the same position (see right).
There is no date on the painting but John Morrison says it is from around 1946 when
Alexander was about 77 years old. It is similar to photographic portraits
taken by Arnold Busch in New York in 1941 when Alexander was 72 years old. In fact, it looks so similar that it is
tempting to think that perhaps Beardmore drew upon the photos for this painting,
though it is more likely that this was one of Alexander's favoured expressions and stances (he was an actor after all)
adopted in sittings for both Busch and Beardmore (see copies of the Busch photos of
Alexander below – the photo on the right is especially similar, though the tilt of the head is different as are small
details about the eyes and the smile).
For an extensive gallery of photos of Alexander see the
COPYRIGHT: The original photographic reproduction of the painting is copyright © 1991 by N. Schapera and D. Gorman and may not be used
commercially without permission.
The digital picture
above is copyright 2005 by David Gorman and may be used freely ONLY by Alexander Technique teachers or
teacher-trainees for their own personal or professional use in web sites, flyers, brochures, etc. Permission must be
sought for any other publication in print media like magazines, newspapers, or in electronic media like TV, DVDs, etc.
There is a larger high resolution version (size: 3000 pixels x 2150 pixels or 10 inches high, dots/inch: 300,
filesize: 3.34 Mb) which is available upon application to David Gorman
Negatives of the three black and white Busch photos are held by STAT and the photos are available as high resolution
prints. See the STAT web site for more details.