Sophie Sivrisarian

  • “British Commonwealth and USA squads”
  • “British Commonwealth and USA squads”
  • “Three Wise Men”
  • Sophie Sivrisarian

Argentinian, 20th Century

The artist Sophie Sivrisarian was the daughter of Armenian immigrants who settled in Hurlingham, Argentina, in 1938, when she was five years old. She identified strongly with Argentine culture and, although born in London, the artist often stated that she didn’t have a drop of English in her and always dressed like a gaucho and knew more about local culture than most Argentines.

She began drawing high-goal polo players at Buenos Aires’ illustrious Hurlingham Club when she was just 13. Her distinctive style caught the attention of many but it was not until Sivrisarian turned 26 that her work started to be taken seriously and she began to receive commissions. One of her most celebrated drawings depicts the 1966 British Commonwealth squad travelling to Argentina to compete in the prestigious Nation’s Cup. Coach Raja Hanut Singh, mounted on a highly polished chestnut mare, is followed by the Marquis of Waterford and his brother Lord Patrick Beresford, with Patrick Kemple, Sinclair Hill, Ronnie Ferguson and Paul Withers bringing up the rear on a dwarfed dappled grey, alongside Hanut’s companion, Beryl Hill. Guardian angel Lord Cowdray dispenses coins from above. The image tells a funny narrative of how Lord Cowdray had to rush back to England halfway through the tournament to gather funds for the club.

In those days, it was an honor for Sophie to draw you. Many great English players of the 1960s were drawn by her and it is not uncommon to see her caricatures framed in their country houses. On Sivrisarian’s death in 2015 her beloved Hurlingham Club inherited all her remaining drawings. A permanent exhibition of her works are on display at the club, just as they are at the Polo Hall of Fame in Florida, in the Bagatelle club in Paris, and in Rajasthan, at the family seat of the late Rao Raja Hanut Singh. Each one is an eternal tribute to a fearless artist with a particular point of view.
(Excerpt HPA Magazine, Winter 2015)