Betty May

Sir Jacob Epstein, 1880 - 1959

Betty May

Sir Jacob Epstein 1880 - 1959


Portrait head and neck of a woman: she is depicted as having a direct and penetrating expression and shoulder-length, tousled hair, which is swept away from the face; the neck extends downwards for a short distance into the tops of the shoulders and the collar bone - this section functions as a small pedestal on which the head stands.The piece stands on a small trapezoid-shaped wooden base, with a curved front, painted black. Betty May was a model known for her beauty and Bohemian behaviour. Born in Tidal Basin near the Victoria Docks to a half-French mother and an absentee father, she was reared in conditions of extreme poverty. As a teenage vagabond, five feet tall, she arrived at the Cafe Royal. Here, according to her autobiography, 'Tiger Woman', Epstein first saw her and said, 'You're very young to be here, little girl, aren't you?"

Object Name

Betty May

Creators Name

Sir Jacob Epstein

Date Created



base: 3cm x 2.5cm
sculpture: 35.5cm x 21cm

accession number


Place of creation



wood (base)




Gift of Mr Charles Lambert Rutherston, 1925

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