John S. Currie, (British, circa 1884-1914)
Dolly Henry on Hampstead Heath, c. 1913
Oil on canvas
61 x 46cm (24 x 18 1/8in)
Currie met Dorothy Henry, a tall, attractive seventeen-year-old who modelled dresses at a Regent Street department store. Currie's friend and patron, Michael Sadleir, remarked that she "was of flower-like loveliness, but lascivious and possessive to the last degrees. Her lure for men were irresistible, and Currie was of course utterly enslaved to her physical attraction, a fact of which she was well aware." Currie's wife discovered the affair in August 1911 and he abandoned her and his young son and set-up home with Dolly in Primrose Hill.
Dolly was poorly educated, unintelligent, and had no interest in art. She resented Currie's absorption in his work, and attempted to make herself the centre of his life." Haycock quotes a friend who later recalled that Dolly used the power of her beauty and sexuality "to goad him from abject desire to baffled fury and then, suddenly complaisant, to win him back again. This dangerous cruelty led to violent quarrels and blows."
Dolly Henry left Currie at the beginning of 1914. He told Michael Sadleir he was contemplating suicide. He explained that the main sources of his anguish was Dolly faithlessness, and his fear that his period of artistic genius had passed.
John S. Currie c.1884–1914
Head of a Woman, c. 1913
Oil paint on wood
454 x 349 mm
In March 1914, Dolly agreed to return to Currie and they decided to move to Brittany. Dolly Henry took a flat in Paultons Square, just off the King's Road. When Currie returned to London he heard rumours that Dolly had modelled for pornographic photographs and was spreading rumours about him in an attempt to ruin his career.
On 8th October 1914, Currie murdered Dolly Henry. The Times reported the following day. "A young woman, whose name is said to be Dorothy or Eileen Henry, was found fatally shot in a house in Chelsea... At a quarter to eight yesterday morning shots and screams were heard. The other occupants of the house ran upstairs and found the woman on the landing in her nightdress bleeding from wounds. In the bedroom a man partly dressed was discovered with wounds in the chest. He was taken to Chelsea infirmary, but the woman died before the arrival of a doctor." Currie died three days later. More on Dolly and John
Shortly before the start of World War I he traveled to France, painting for a time in Brittany. Currie had previously abandoned his wife and young son to begin a long and tempestuous affair with an attractive though unintelligent Irish model, Dolly Henry. (In full, Dorothy Eileen Henry, though sometimes written O'Henry). This ended with Currie shooting her dead at her Chelsea apartment; he then turned the gun on himself, and died in hospital a few days later. More on John Currie
John Currie (1883–1914)
The Witch, c. 1913
Oil on panel
49 x 39 cm
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery
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