Nancy Hale, daughter of artists Lilian and Philip Hale did not like to pose. Why not? "While people who paid for portraits by my mother might get their own way about what they wore in them, I, who had been since infancy the built-in, free artist's model around that house, never had any such say.
My mother had drawn me at the age of six weeks in my bassinet; propped up against pillows, at the age of six months, on a background of patterned roses. At the age of one, seated in a baby carriage, I made a spot in an Impressionist painting by my father. There is a portrait of me at six wearing a dark-blue straw hat with red cherries, but that is the only article of apparel in any picture of me I remember having any fondness for, and even in that portrait I look glum.
At seven I was posed with my hair parted in the middle and tied with two bows, too tight, which hurt. A prize-winning painting of my mother's called Nancy and the Map of Europe shows me and my large doll dressed in identical blue cotton-crepe dresses with waistlines up under the armpits, and white guimpes. I hated dresses with high waistlines, because the other girls wore dresses with low waistlines. For that matter, I hated my doll, too.
I had to pose so much in my childhood that when I reached the age of about thirteen I finally figured out a requirement of my own. I wouldn't pose, I said, unless I could be painted with a book. So all subsequent pictures show me in the act of reading. Several are silhouetted against a window; some show the book, some don't; but all have the eyes downcast. *