Some years ago this well-known drawing by van Gogh turned up in a Channel 4 quiz programme in which art experts were challenged to identify works in British public collections from small details.
None of the panellists were able to identify it, but one of them commented ruefully: "I knew what it was, but I couldn't believe it was in a British collection."
Possibly the most important single item among the 350-odd works in the Garman Ryan Collection, given to Walsall by Lady Epstein in 1974 and now rehoused in the magnificent New Art Gallery, this early drawing was sent by van Gogh
to his brother Theo with the note "enclosed is what in my opinion is the best figure I have yet drawn".
The model is a woman called Clasina Maria Hoornik, known as …