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Monotonous Remorse, Kaye Donachie

A portrait of a woman with short dark hair sitting in profile facing to the left, in tones of blue and grey

Kaye Donachie, Monotonous Remorse, 2019, oil on linen, 80 x 56 cm, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Purchased With Support of Contemporary Art Society, 2020) © Kaye Donachie, courtesy Maureen Paley.

At a glance

Artist: Kaye Donachie

Date: 2019

Materials: Oil on linen

Acquisition: Purchased with Support of the Contemporary Art Society (2020)


This portrait forms part of a series of works where the titles are taken from poetry by Iris Tree, the 20th century poet, actress and artist’s model. The line ‘monotonous remorse’ is taken from this small poem dating to 1918:

The cold light steals into my soul

Revealing its emptiness,

The cold winds batter at my heart

And make its lonely tenant shake with fear—

The raindrops slide across the window-glass

Like sighs that fall from patient weariness;

And coldly smiling time

Peers with his clock-face, ticking in my brain

The pulse of a monotonous remorse.


Contemporary artist Kaye Donachie is best known for her figurative, dream-like portraits of women. However, her portraits are not direct representations of her subjects but are ‘abstract narratives’ informed by art and literature by 20th century women. Often these women have been traditionally marginalised and include radical writers, activists, poets and artists. Donachie describes their biographies as ‘sparse, but that affords a space in which to interpret narratives in my painting and representation.’