Philip de Laszlo ‘Anny Ahlers’ make up bag - natural

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Brighten up your dressing table with this beautifully handmade make-up bag featuring the glamorous Anne Ahlers as Madame Dubarry 1933 by Philip de László. 

Created to accompany the exhibition Philip de László: Master of Elegance at Gainsborough's House, in The Timothy and Mary Clode Gallery from 23rd March to 23rd April 2024, this stylish make-up bag allows you to take home a piece of the exhibition with this miniature masterpiece.

  • Lined

  • Ribbon detail on zip

All purchases help support Gainsborough's House.

More Information
Material100% cotton
CollectionGainsborough's House

The German actress and singer Anny Ahlers (1906–1933) came to London in 1932 to appear at His Majesty’s Theatre in the role of Jeanne in the musical comedy The Dubarry. Sir Merrik Burrell saw her perform and was moved to commission a half-length portrait in costume from Philip de László. The artist found his subject so inspiring that he painted a full-length instead, giving him the opportunity to paint the expansive layers of fabric of her costume. Encouraged by Burrell’s words that ‘the picture of A.A. is a tribute of one artist to another’ he painted one of the most successful full lengths of his career.

Frequently overworked, Anny Ahlers suffered from bouts of depression and often failed to appear for appointed sittings, which greatly irritated de László. On 14 March 1933, aged only 26, she fell from the balcony of her London hotel room and died from a broken neck. The portrait was unfinished and de László explained how it was completed: ‘I have the dress, and Dreda sat for me. I was lucky in being able to finish the head, and her beautiful hands. She was a most delightful personality, and a born genius, and the world is the poorer for her death. Photographs in the artist’s archive show the portrait both in its unfinished and finished states. The emerald ring on Anny’s left hand was a present from Burrell.

The portrait was exhibited to great acclaim at the Knoedler Gallery that June with the title The Late Miss Anny Ahlers. Coloured reproductions were sold in aid of the Artists' General Benevolent Institution. The Daily Mail wrote that ‘The Liveliness of Mr de László's rendering [is] a melancholy reminder of the fragility of life.’ The Star pointed out that ‘ever since the exhibition opened the portrait of poor Anny Ahlers has been the centre of an admiring group, and a bowl of Du Barry roses stands in front of it’. De László waived his honorarium for the portrait.