Ref NoBS/1/1/1
TitleCorrespondence sent to and received by Sewell's mother
Admin/Biog HistoryMary Jessica Perkins (1900–1996), was born in Dublin but spent most of her childhood in Hampstead, London. She came from a wealthy family and was educated at home, and had hoped to become a student at the Slade School, but was prevented from doing so by her father. Although this disagreement caused a rift in their relationship, he continued to give her an allowance, and Jessica proceeded to join the workshop of the sculptor George Frampton (1860-1928), followed by periods working with the artists William Bruce Ellis Ranken (1881-1941), and then an unknown artist named Kate Ruskin Coughtrie. It was through the latter that Jessica met Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), and the surviving members of the collapsed Omega Workshops.

In 1930, Jessica became pregnant and, as a devout Catholic, she refused the father of the baby's offer to pay for an abortion. By this time, she was estranged from her father, but her paternal grandmother granted her a small allowance, on the condition that the identity of Sewell's biological father was never disclosed to him. This allowance ceased in 1936 when Jessica married Robert Sewell. The marriage was not a great success and, following its breakdown after the Second World War, Jessica moved from London to Sible Hedingham, Essex, to a house bought for her by Robert Sewell.

In the 1970s, Sewell bought a terrraced house in Eldon Road, Kensington, London and Jessica moved in with him. Although Sewell found this arrangement very difficult, she continued to live with him until her death in 1996.
DescriptionThe majority of this correspondence is between Sewell and his mother, Jessica, and mostly relates to his travels.
Extent1 file (1 telegram; 10 letters; 22 postcards)


Image CaptionHandwritten card from Jessica to Sewell on his second birthday, dated 1933
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