Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Oil on panel; 15¾ × 11¾ ins
Lady Ashburton was a well-known hostess and collector, much admired by Thomas
Carlyle. She was also a friend of G.F. Watts, and bought from him two small versions
of Love and Death and Time, Death and Judgement.
Inscribed: ‘Ellen Terry’
12 × 8¾ ins
Despite Ellen Terry’s blooming theatrical career, she willingly sacrificed the stage at the age of only 16 to marry G.F. Watts, who was 30 years her senior. Within a year
the marriage had failed. A later deed of separation cited “incompatibility of temper”.
This rather tender drawing by Watts shows the young Ellen at the piano. It was
formerly in the collection of Watts’s adopted daughter Lilian Chapman (née
Mackintosh); who inherited a number of the artist’s paintings and drawings.
Oil on canvas; 27 × 19¾ ins
Exhibited: Grosvenor Gallery, Watts Exhibition, 1881–1882, no. 128; Manchester, Watts
Literature: Mrs. M.S. Watts, Catalogue of the Works of G.F. Watts, vol. 1, p. 20
‘This is the first portrait Mr. Watts painted of little Blanche Clogstoun, who is seated in an armchair and wears red stockings.’
Blanche Clogstoun was the orphan niece of Mr. and Mrs. Thoby Prinsep, and Watts
became her legal guardian. In 1883 she married Herbert Somers Cocks, and died in
1895. Watts rarely painted children, but in the case of Blanche Clogstoun, a child he
obviously knew well, he has produced a picture of great charm and tenderness.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
original carved frame.
[Love and his Counterfeits]
Christie's London: Friday, November 8, 1996
Pencil and Watercolor w/scratching out, laid down on canvas
Sotheby's London: Tuesday, June 8, 1999
Oil on Canvas
oil on canvas
36.5 by 59 cm., 14 1/4 by 23 1/4 in.
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 7,475 GBP
oil on canvas
35.5 by 46 cm., 14 by 18 in.
signed l.l.: ARTHUR HUGHES
45.5 by 31 cm., 18 by 12 1/4 in.
This appears to be a variation on the subject entitled Home from Market that Hughes painted in c.1885-6 and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1886 (unlocated). The 1886 Royal Academy version (known from the line engraving that appeared in Blackburn's Academy Notes, illd Leonard Roberts, Arthur Hughes - His Life and Work, Woodbridge, 1997, p.200) shows the figure cut off just below the waist.
Monday, June 28, 2010
on the llugwy, june
signed and dated on the stretcher:
after J P Pettit by C Napier Hemy 1862, inscribed with title on the reverse
oil on canvas
71.5 by 92 cm., 28 by 36 1/4 in.
This view on the Llugwy River in North Wales was painted in the summer of 1862, the year when Charles Napier Hemy first devoted himself professionally to art. Hemy had recently abandoned his ambition to become a Catholic priest, and only as recently as May 1862 he had been living as a monk in a Dominican monastery at Lyons in France.
The minute attention to detail demonstrated in Hemy's On the Llugwy, June, particularly in the foreground area of pebbles and rock eroded by the action of flowing water, is characteristic of the artist at this early stage, when he was strongly influenced by Pre-Raphaelite principles of observation. Hemy's best known painting, Among the Shingles at Clovelly (Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne) - an extraordinary and exacting exercise in Pre-Raphaelite technique - was painted two years later, in 1864.
signed and dated l.l.: B W Leader 1861
oil on canvas
58.5 by 84.5 cm., 23 by 33 1/4 in.
Birmingham, Society of Arts, 1861 (£25).
We are grateful to Ruth Wood for her kind assistance in cataloging this lot which is to be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonne of the artist.
the gift that is better than rubies
signed with monogram and dated l.r.: 1899; inscribed with title on the backboard
watercolour heightened with bodycolour
34 by 47 cm., 13 1/2 by 18 1/2 in.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
[Love and Death] 1874-77
love and life
signed and inscribed with title on a label attached to the stretcher
oil on canvas
115 by 57 cm., 45 1/2 by 22 1/2 in.
Watts's Love and Life seems to have been conceived as a companion subject and counterpart to Love and Death, in which the draped figure of Death is momentarily obstructed at a doorway by a cupid. The painter was occupied with the prime version of Love and Death (Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester) in the mid-1870s, and showed the work at the first Grosvenor Gallery exhibition in 1877. The first version of Love and Life was, according to Mrs Barrington (G.F. Watts - Reminiscences, London, 1905, p.129), begun early in 1884, and finished the same year. Of the subject of the allegory, G.F. Watts explained in a note transcribed into the MS catalogue of his works compiled by Mary Watts: 'I would suggest frail and feeble human existence aided to ascend from the lower to the higher plane by Love with his wide wings of sympathy, charity, tenderness, and human affection. Love is not intended to be either personal or carnal.' On a further occasion Watts defended the composition, which he said was 'often cited as a failure, especially with reference to the fragility of the figure of Life': 'I may have pushed this slightness too far, but I wanted to insist on the weakness of human existence far down among the lower creatures but for the vivifying and uplifting impulse of sympathy.' Elsewhere he wrote: 'My female figure is fragile, but what is life in the midst of the immensities? Love I have only suggested as powerful by wings, for material muscular forms seem to me to be out of character in a design which has to do only with the purest abstractions. Also I made the figures perfectly nude, for they are only symbols, and have nothing to do with aught but the simplest conditions; in like manner the surroundings represent nothing but the very simplest ideas. They are the rugged steps of the path which leads from the baser existence to the nobler region of thought and character.' (Quoted from M.S. Watts, George Frederic Watts, three volumes, London, 1912, II,pp.234-5)
Love and Life was painted in various versions, over a decade or so from 1884 onwards. What was presumably the prime version appeared at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1885. Some years later Leon Benedite, director of the Luxembourg in Paris approached Watts with a request that the museum might buy a work of his. Watts responded by presenting a version of the present subject, and which is now in the Musee d'Orsay. The French critic Robert de la Sizeranne was said to have been amazed by the power of the subject, which he knew from a version which Watts placed on loan to the South Kensington Museum, and it was the impact of this painting that caused him to return to a belief in the necessity of symbolic power in art, as opposed to mere naturalism, a view that he expounded upon in an essay in the Revue de Deux Mondes.
study for the panel The Viking's Bride, from the frieze decoration The Skeleton in Armour
inscribed with stanzas from Longfellow's poem in imitation runic script around the edges of the composition
watercolour heightened with bodycolour and gold paint
22 by 183.5 cm., 8 3/4 by 72 1/4 in.
The present watercolour is an approximately half-scale preparatory sketch for part of the scheme of oil-painted friezes that Walter Crane made for the American heiress and art patron Catherine Lorillard Wolfe in 1883. The scheme was made to decorate the dining room of the house called Vinland at Newport, Rhode Island, which Mrs Wolfe had recently had built in a Scandinavian style by the architects Peabody and Sterns. In addition to Crane's involvement, both Edward Burne-
Jones and William Morris were also consulted about the decoration of the house. The former made designs for stained glass showing the Norse discovery of America (now in the Delaware Art Museum), while the latter provided hangings and wall-papers through Morris & Co. In addition Crane was to design stained glass for the windows of the library at Vinland.
Crane's completed cycle of friezes illustrated Henry Longfellow's 1842 ballad 'The Skeleton in Armour'' the dramatic action of which was set around a circular tower at Newport which was believed to have been built by Viking explorers. Inscribed around the edge of each panel - and likewise seen in the present preparatory sketch - were stanzas from the poem, lettered in a style which imitates Scandinavian runic script. The verses from which the subject of the present compartment come are as follows:
Scarce had I put to sea,
Bearing the Maid with me, -
Fairest of all was she
Among the Norseman! -
When on the white-sea strand,
Waving his armed hand,
Saw we old Hildebrand,
With twenty horsemen.
Then launched they to the blast,
Bent like a reed each mast,
Yet we were gaining fast,
When the wind failed us;
And with a sudden flaw
Came round the gusty Skaw,
So that our foes we saw
Laugh as he hailed us.
And as to catch the gale
Round veered the flapping sail,
Death! was the helmsman's hail,
Death without quarter!
Mid-ships with iron-keel
Struck we her ribs of steel;
Down her black hulk did reel
Through the black water.
As with his wings aslant,
Sails the black cormorant,
Seeking some rocky haunt,
With his pray laden:
So toward the open main,
Beating the sea again,
Through the wild hurricane,
Bore I the maiden.
Three weeks we westward bore,
And when the storm was o'er,
Cloud-like we saw the shore
Stretching to leeward;
There for my lady's bower
Built I the lofty tower,
Which, to this very hour,
Stands looking seaward.
Crane received the commission for the decoration while staying in Rome during the winter of 1882, through the recommendation of the Revd Dr Nevin, vicar of the American church in Rome. To work on the final canvases (which are between 71 and 84 cms high and between 209 and 730 cms wide) Crane took a studio in the Via Sistina. Parts of the scheme were sent directly to Newport from Rome early in the spring of 1883, while other parts appear to have remained unfinished at the time of the artist's return to England from Rome in June 1883 and were finished in London. The complete cycle was in place at Vinland before the end of 1883.
Two related subjects by Crane, the first almost certainly identical with the present work The Viking's Bride, the second entitled The Viking's Wooing, were shown in the watercolour gallery of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1883. Other sketches and designs relating to the project are in the collection of Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
The finished scheme of painted friezes, devolved upon Salve Regina College, Newport, in 1955 when the house Vinland was given to that school by Mrs William A.M. Burden. Salve Regina College sold the Crane friezes at Christie's New York, 28 October 1987, lot 238.
The project was an important one for Crane, allowing him to conceive and execute a figurative design on the epic scale to which he believed his art was ideally suited. Oil paintings of the period, such as The Roll of Fate (untraced) and The Bridge of Life (private collection), show the allegorical and deliberately edifying tendency of his painted compositions in the 1880s.
London, Grosvenor Gallery, 1883, no. 305
P.G. Konody, The Art of Walter Crane, London, 1902
after G F Watts
[Time, Death and Judgement]
inscribed It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement
Schott was Watt's studio assistant and was one of several versions of this work. It is thought to be a design fot the mosaic originally placed on the facade of St. Jude's Church, Whitechapel which was unveiled in 1884.
inscribed It is appointed unto man, once to die, but after this the judgement, watercolour
245 by 168 cm., 96 1/2 by 66 in.
Watts began work on Time,Death and Judgement in the 1860's and made three large versions (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, St.Paul's Cathedral, London and the Tate Gallery, London). This version by Cecil Schott, Watt' studio assistant, may be a design for the mosaic originally placed on the facade of St. Jude's Cathedral, Whitechapel. Matthew Arnold gave an address at the unveiling of the mosaic in 1884 in which he urged the poor to be 'sober, patient, charitable, kind' in order that 'after this life they could wake up in a world as little like Whitechapel as possible.' St Jude's Church was later demolished and the mosaic transferred to the facade of St. Giles-in-the-Fields Church School, Holborn and subsequently moved again to the churchyard of St. Giles-in-the-Fields.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 4,320 GBP
design for a memorial to christina rossetti
inscribed with artist's notes at the lower edge of the sheet; inscribed on verso: Half Hour sketch by E Burne Jones 1897 (June) done in my presence, for memorial Reredos to Christina Rossetti in Woburn Square Church. Commissioned by Revd Glendinning Nash and executed by me at that time. T.M.Rooke, 1921.'
black and white chalk with watercolour
33 by 49.5 cm., 13 by 19 1/2 in.
Christina Rossetti died on 29 December 1894. Her funeral and later a memorial service took place at Christ Church, Woburn Square, both conducted by the Revd Nash who two years later asked Burne-Jones to make the present sketch design for a monument to the dead poetess. Christ Church, which was built by Lewis Vulliamy, no longer stands, presumably destroyed by bombing in 1940, or demolished shortly after the war, as was most of the square. All trace of the reredos decoration, designed by Burne-Jones and painted by his assistant T.M. Rooke, is lost.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Announces it will Show J.W. Waterhouse The Modern Pre-Raphaelite this Fall
[John William Waterhouse, St. Cecilia, 1895. Oil on canvas. Private Collection, courtesy of Christie's]
MONTREAL.- From October 1, 2009, to February 7, 2010, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts will host the largest-ever retrospective of works by the celebrated British artist John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). J. W. Waterhouse: The Modern Pre-Raphaelite is the first large-scale monographic exhibition on Waterhouse’s work since 1978 and the first to feature his entire artistic career. This retrospective features some eighty paintings that are among the finest and most spectacular of the artist’s production, on loan from public and private collections in Australia, England, Ireland, Taiwan, the United States and Canada. It will also present many of the artist’s attractive studies in oil, chalk and pencil. Several of these works have not been exhibited since Waterhouse’s lifetime. The exhibitionhas been organized by the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands, with the collaboration of the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The exhibition, which premiered at the Groninger Museum, will also be presented at the Royal Academy of Arts (June 27 to September 13, 2009), and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (October 1, 2009, to February 7, 2010).
Often associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, who aimed to recapture the beauty and simplicity of the medieval world, Waterhouse was also a classical painter. The exhibition will show how Waterhouse’s paintings reflect his engagement with contemporary themes like medievalism, classical heritage, spiritualism and the femme fatale. Born the year the Pre-Raphaelites first exhibited at the Royal Academy, he inherited their taste for Alfred Tennyson, John Keats and William Shakespeare and was fascinated by beauty, the underworld and myths of enchantresses. His paintings reveal a romantic fascination for female passions: among his subjects are the Lady of Shalott, Ophelia, Ariadne, Cleopatra, Circe, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Lamia, the Sirens tormenting Ulysses, and Mariamne condemned to death. Inspired by literature and Greek mythology, he also drew from classical myth as interpreted by Homer and Ovid.
Although the works of J. W. Waterhouse are admired by millions of people worldwide, the general public actually knows relatively little about the man himself and his artistic production. Waterhouse’s painterly manner distinguishes him from his truly Pre-Raphaelite forerunners. Waterhouse discovered the work of the Pre-Raphaelite John Everett Millais and Ophelia (1851-1852) in particular in 1886. It was also during this same period that he was influenced by the spontaneity of newer French art through the work of English artists like William Logsdail, Frank Bramley and the Newlyn and Primrose Hill schools. The twentieth-century scholars who rediscovered the Pre-Raphaelites often marginalized Waterhouse for such seemingly contradictory tendencies, yet it is these which have endeared him to viewers today. The exhibition will place his most renowned works in the context of his whole career to illustrate why Waterhouse can be regarded as one of the most important artists of classical and romantic tradition.
The artist was born in Rome to British parents, but the family returned to London five years later. Even at a very young age, Waterhouse assisted in the studio of his father, where he developed his interest in painting, sculpture and classical antiquity. He was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1870, and gradually began to make a name for himself with strikingly original and melancholy pictures inspired by ancient Greece and Rome. His richly coloured, emotionally charged images of beautiful women brought him renown throughout the British Empire and at the World Exhibitions of the 1890s and 1900s.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 12,000 GBP
coloured pastel heightened with silver and white
23 by 17 cm., 9 1/4 by 6 3/4 in.
Allegorical representations of the moon goddess by Burne-Jones date from the mid-1860s onwards. Perhaps the first image of this type was the design he made showing Luna standing in a crescent moon and holding a ship for the Green Dining Room, which was created by Philip Webb and Morris & Co at the
South Kensington Museum. Later Burne-Jones used the image in designs for stained glass and tiles, and in the mid-1870s he painted an oil version of the subject which appeared at the 1878 Grosvenor Gallery exhibition and belonged to the Ionides family.
This watercolour, with its soft and suffused technique and carefully reduced range of colour, must come from late in the artist's career - perhaps from the1890s. Complete in itself and intended for display, it is highly personal meditation on a theme close to Burne-Jones's heart.
inscribed and signed on the reverse: The Love Philtre. J.W. Waterhouse
oil on canvas
58.5 by 45.5cm., 23 by 18in.
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 70,850 GBP
Anthony Hobson, The Art and Life of J.W. Waterhouse RA, 1980
Peter Trippi, J.W. Waterhouse, 2002
The present picture was identified by Dr Anthony Hobson in his catalogue raisonnee of
1980 as The Love Philtre and dated c.1914. A pencil inscription on the reverse of the
present picture confirms the title. It is likely, however, that this picture was painted c.1907 as it appears to relate more directly to the female figure in Jason and Medea exhibited that year (FIG 1. sold in these rooms, 15 June 2000, lot 46).
Two variant sketches for the same figure are known (private collection and another sold in these rooms, 15 March 1983, lot 74) and suggest that Waterhouse originally intended to paint Medea alone and that the addition of Jason came at a later stage.
In classical mythology the sorceress Medea was the daughter of King Aeetes of
Cholchis to whose kingdom the hero Jason and his Argonauts travelled in search of the
treasured Golden Fleece. Medea used her magical skills to make a potion for Jason,
with whom she had fallen in love, to imbue him with invulnerability and superhuman
power during his imperiled and terrifying quest for the fleece.
From the early 1890s Waterhouse concentrated increasingly upon subjects from
mythology, painting a striking series of pictures that are among the most compelling
and darkly beautiful of all Victorian paintings. Among the most important mythological pictures of this period were Ulysses and the Sirens of 1891 (National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne), Hylas and the Nymphs of 1896 (Manchester City Art Gallery), Flora and the Zephyrs of 1898 (sold in these rooms, 6 November 1996, lot 307) and Echo and Narcissus of 1903 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool). The sorceress subject had first been painted by Waterhouse in 1886 in The Magic Circle (Tate Britain) and in 1891 he painted his first potion-themed picture depicting a beautiful witch holding aloft a magical liquid in Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses (Oldham Art Gallery). The motif continued in 1892 when he painted Homer's sorceress again, enchanting the sea with lurid green poison in Circe Invidiosa (Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide).
Medea was a favourite subject for nineteenth century painters. Notable depictions
include those by Frederick Sandys of 1868 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery),
Valentine Cameron Prinsep of 1888 (Art Gallery of South London) and Waterhouse's
friend Herbert Draper, who painted a dramatic image of Medea and Jason's departure
from Colchis in his 1904 work The Golden Fleece (Bradford City Art Gallery). In Europe the subject of female sorcery also had innumerable artistic supporters, finding its zenith with Symbolist artists like Gustave Moreau, Fernand Khnopff and Gustave Klimt who made Medea one of their queens of decadence, sexuality and exoticism. Thus, Waterhouse's images of magic and mythology can be regarded in a wider European context.
In the present work Waterhouse has laboured first and foremost to convey the wistful
charm and psychological intensity of his subject at the pivotal moment in a private
drama as she pauses and ponders all that is about to transpire.
signed l.l.: J.W. Waterhouse
53 by 38cm., 21 by 15in.
ESTIMATE 70,000 - 100,000 GBP
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 145,250 GBP
A beautiful young girl, slight of build and with long sleek hair, big watery eyes and
delicate features, of a type that would not be out of place in the fashion magazines of the twenty-first century; this is what has become known as the 'Waterhouse Girl'.
As stereotyped as the 'Stunners' of Rossetti's art earlier in the century, the models for Waterhouse's paintings from the early 1890s onwards played a pivotal role in the changing conception of female beauty, making way for the movie starlets of the early twentieth century. Similar to the fragile angels of Burne-Jones and his followers, they are more warm-blooded and perhaps closer to the woman painted by one of Waterhouse's contemporaries George Clausen. However, whilst Clausen painted pretty
models dressed for field work toiling on the land or standing on the thresholds of farmhouses, Waterhouse painted them as the naiads, enchantresses and tormented
medieval maidens of mythology and literature. He sought to depict the fragility and
delicate sexual allure of the women that dwelt between the worlds of the gods and the
mortals, the nymphs and mermaids that seduced shepherds and fishermen or the
princesses carried off by lustful Gods while they gather flowers or sleep beside the sea.
Two of his most powerful pictures in this vein are Flora and the Zephyrs (Private
Collection) and Ariadne (private collection) both painted in 1898, large paintings in
which young women are either being awakened from sleep by amorous suitors or soon
to be so. Bleary-eyed from her slumbers Flora awakes, stretches and is lifted upwards
by the arms of the wind gods while Ariadne is caught in a dream-world unaware of the
approach of Bacchus heralded by prowling panthers. For both of these pictures
Waterhouse painted girls with their hands raised to their hair, echoing the poses
depicted in Ophelia of 1894 (private collection) Hylas and the Nymphs of 1896
(Manchester City Art Gallery), Marianna in the South of 1897 (Hammersmith and
Fulham Libraries) and numerous later paintings.
Flora and the Zephyrs took its subject from Ovid's Fasti, a verse chronicle of the
Roman calendar incorporating the myths and legends of Rome associated with specific
times of year. Fasti V, vv.195-375 is recounted by Flora herself; 'I who am called Flora was formerly Chloris... a nymph of the happy fields where, as you have heard, dwelt fortunate men of old. Modesty shrinks from describing my figure; but it procured the hand of a god for my mother's daughter. 'Twas spring, and I was roaming; Zephyr caught sight of me; I retired; he pursued and I fled; but he was the stronger, and Boreas had given his brother full right of rape by daring to carry off the prize for the house of Erechtheus. However, he made amends for his violence by giving me the name of bride, and in my marriage-bed I have naught to complain of.' Waterhouse painted the moment when Zephyr first fell in love with the nymph as she gathered flowers in a garden. He flew down through the laurel trees with his winged companions and carried her away with a girdle made of white roses. Flora (or Chloris) is shown holding her hair as it is lifted upwards by the wind's gentle gusts and her expression is a combination of alarm and excitement. As a commentator wrote when the painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy; 'His art is to concentrate himself on the pulse of the myth, and to make his whole picture throb with unison.' (Art Journal, 1898, p.176) Flora and the Zephyrs was well received at the exhibition and became part of the collection of the mining engineer George McCulloch.
The subject of Flora and the connection between women and flowers, the fertility of
nature and the pagan idea of rebirth was one that fascinated Waterhouse and was the
subject of many pictures. Flora's mythology appears to have obsessed him and he
painted pictures that depict her specifically such as Flora and the Zephyrs and also
Boreas (private collection), the everyday historical worship of her in ancient times such as Flora of 1891 (private collection) and as Symbolist musings on the theme of spring's awakening such as A Song of Springtime and Narcissus of 1913 (private collections).
The allegorical connection between women and flowers linked the subject of Flora with
that of Persephone's return from the underworld and in a reversal of roles, Adonis'
reawakening amid a garden of anemones that had grown from his blood (also the
subject of a painting by Waterhouse). This awakening with the opening of a flower
suggests an erotic charge, the powerful sexual element that gives Waterhouse's most
successful art its compelling attraction.
This beautiful drawing relates to the central figure in Flora and the Zephyrs but may
also have influenced Ariadne, Waterhouse's depiction of the Minoan princess
abandoned by the hero Theseus on the island of Naxos. Although a fine draughtsman,
few drawings by Waterhouse of this quality have survived and although the subjects he
chose were those favoured by earlier generations of painters, his draughtsmanship
demonstrated that he was very much an artist of his time. Energetic, confident and
expressive this drawing shows that Waterhouse's technical skill was remarkable.
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 48,800 GBP (1998)
A young musician employed in the temple service during the feast of tabernacles, later called hosanna
signed with monogram and dated l.l.: SS/3/61
oil on canvas
56 by 51 cm., 22 by 20 in.
London, Royal Academy, 1861, no.493;
Manchester, Royal Jubilee Exhibition, 1887, no.328 (titled Hosanna! and lent by Mr J.F. Hutton);
London, Royal Academy, Winter exhibition, Exhibition of Works by the Old Masters and Deceased Masters of the British School, 1906, no.116 (titled Hosanna and lent by Mrs Charles Bayley)
The Times, 13 May 1861, p.6;
Athenaeum, 25 May 1861, p.698;
Art Journal, 1861, p.196
This beautiful early painting by Simeon Solomon has not been exhibited or recorded since the time of the Royal Academy Winter Exhibition of 1906, the year after the artist's death. It is a highly important rediscovery from the fascinating period in English art when the new and progressive Aesthetic style of painting emerged, in which movement Simeon Solomon was a vital figure.
The original title of the painting, A Young Musician employed in the Service during the Feast of Tabernacles - and as such it was first exhibited at the 1861 Royal Academy - indicates that, although the painting was intended to represent a remote historical epoch, it does not show a particular incident or character from the Old Testament. In this sense it represents a departure from Solomon's two earlier Royal Academy exhibits - which were a Biblical subject showing the Lord's order to Abraham that he should sacrifice his son Isaac, shown in 1858, and a figure of Moses, shown in 1860. With A Young Musician Solomon treats for the first time a theme without ostensible subject beyond that implicit in the action of the figure. The main elements of the subject were described by F.G. Stephens in the Athenaeum in his review of the 1861 exhibition: 'A youth, of the highest Jewish type, is seen bearing the immemorial ten-stringed harp, such as we find sculptured on the Ninevite bas-reliefs. From its construction not allowing strength against a high tension of the chords, this must have been a low-noted instrument. We may imagine the sweet pulsings of the music as the player's slender fingers draw the strings.'
Solomon had been brought up within the Jewish community of London's East End. His attendance at synagogue as a child and his long familiarity with Jewish religious ritual made subjects showing such practices very personal to him. His friend William Blake Richmond wrote of him and of his early paintings and drawings of Jewish subjects: 'No one but a Jew could have conceived or expressed the depth of national feeling which lay under the strange, remote forms of the archaic people whom he depicted and whose passion he told with a genius entirely unique.' (A.M.W. Stirling, The Richmond Papers, London, 1926, p.161) Of the present painting, the Times especially approved its religious character: 'We commend Mr S. Solomon for his hearty nationality. He paints Jewish subjects, as a Jew should, with evident reverence and delight in recalling the mystery and greatness of the chosen people.' According to the Art Journal, the painting was 'redolent of deep and pious feeling.'
Among the circle of critics who understood the innovations that Solomon's painting represented A Young Musician was seen as a great achievement and a point of arrival in the young artist's career. The Athenaeum believed that 'Mr Simeon Solomon [was] rapidly developing into a fine artist, coming out of the extravagancies and exuberant freaks of execution he at one time indulged in' but that this was undoubtedly 'a work remarkable for sweetness of expression and solid execution.' The Times concluded: 'This is a very impressive and noble figure, not marred by the ugliness in which Mr Solomon has sometimes appeared to revel.' The painting was bought at the Royal Academy, or perhaps had already been acquired, by the Leeds stockbroker and collector of Pre-Raphaelite paintings Thomas Edward Plint. Plint died shortly afterwards, and the painting appeared at auction in 1862 where it was bought by the picture dealer Ernest Gambart.
The motif of a figure playing an archaic and richly decorated harp seems to have been first explored by Solomon in an elaborate pen drawing entitled ''Babylon hath been a golden cup'' (Birmingham City Art Gallery), made and exhibited in the autumn of 1859. The following summer a multi-figured ink drawing (ex Lord Houghton collection) included the figure of a musician in profile with his head bowed and with his harp resting against his cheek. The pose was elaborated in a further drawing which has all the essential elements of the composition of the present painting (although the treatment of the background is different). This drawing, entitled A Jewish Musician in the Temple (Huntingdon Library, California), was made by way of preparation for an illustration for the illustrated Bible that the Dalziel brothers were then contemplating (and was in fact included as a plate with the title Hosannah in the book as it was eventually published in 1881 (illd The Brothers Dalziel -A Record of Work - 1840-1890, London, 1901, p.259)). The present painting corresponds closely to the final engraved image.
[PORTRAIT OF A GIRL IN BLUE; A SEATED GIRL]
one oil on panel; the other oil on canvas with charcoal laid on panel
one 23 by 18cm., 9 by 7in.; the other 38 by 25.5cm.,15 by 10in.
Leonard Roberts, Arthur Hughes, His Life and Works, 1997
Thursday, June 24, 2010
signed with monogram and dated 83 l.r.
watercolour with bodycolour, pencil and gum arabic
101 by 74cm., 39 3/4 by 29 1/8 in.
ESTIMATE 60,000 - 80,000 GBP
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 145,250 GBP
London, Grosvenor Gallery, 1883, no.349;
Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool Autumn Exhibition, 1883
David B. Elliott, A Pre-Raphaelitie Marriage: The Lives and Works of Marie Spartali Stillman &William James
Cecily (Cecilia) is the patron saint of music due to it being said that as she was martyred in c.230 she sang a song in honour of God. It is thought that she was a Roman of noble birth, an only child who took a vow of celebacy when she was young and upon marrying convinced her husband Valerian to accept sexual abstinence. Valerian would only agree to the pledge if Cecilia's guardian angel appeared before them, which duly came about. The angel placed garlands of roses and lilies onto the heads of Cecilia and Valerian. Valerian and his brother Tibertius
converted to Christianity and were executed with Cecilia for their beliefs. Alfred Tennyson described the apparition of the angel to Cecilia in his poem of 1833 The Palace of Art:
'Or in a clear-wall'd city on the sea
Near gilded organ-pipes, her hair
Wound with white roses, slept St. Cecily;
An angel look'd at her.'
Marie Stillman's painting does not appear to depict Tennyson's lines, although the 'clear-wall'd city' is present (although it is not by the sea). A more literal rendering of the poem was given by John William Waterhouse in 1895 in his well-known composition painted more than a decade after Stillman's (Lord Lloyd Weber Collection). Stillman appears to have invented the subject of the picture, with the child Cecily and an attendant in a secluded bower in an Italian palazzo. The architecture and landscape almost certainly depict Tuscany as Marie Stillman and her family were living in Florence at the time that the picture was painted. The model for Cecily may have been Marie's eleven-year-old daughter Effie (Euphrosyne). The features of the attendant are almost certainly those of Marie herself who was celebrated for her beauty and grace; she was a model for Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Madox Brown and Spencer Stanhope. Rossetti wrote that Marie, 'possessed a face superlatively beautiful.' (Letter from Rossetti to Ellen Heaton, 9 January 1868, British Museum) and although she was more than ten years older when the present
watercolour was painted, she remained beautiful.
Born in 1844 in Tottenham in Middlesex (other sources state that it was Hornsey), Marie was the youngest daughter of Euphrosyne and Michael Spartali, a wealthy and cosmopolitan merchant and later Greek consul general for London. Marie and her sister Christine and brother Demetrius were raised in a large house in Clapham, which
became the centre of the Greek community in the 1860s. The Anglo-Greek connoisseur Constantine Ionides who patronised Burne-Jones and Rossetti and whose collection is now at the Victoria and Albert Museum, was a great friend of the Spartali's and it was probably this connection that led to Marie being 'discovered' by the Pre-
Raphaelites. Marie was also a close friend of Maria Zambaco (nee Cassavetti), Burne-Jones' mistress and model and Aglaia Coronio the confidante of both Rossetti and William Morris and the three women were known as the 'Three Graces' after their Greek heritage and striking beauty. It is said that the Spartali girls' debut was made in the late 1860s at a garden party in Tulse Hill given by relations of the Ionides family, where their arrival caused a stir among the invited artists. 'We were all á genoux before them and of course every one of us burned with a desire to
paint them' recalled the artist Thomas Armstrong. The perceptive Graham Robertson described Marie thus, '... a lofty beauty, gracious and noble; the beauty worshipped in Greece of old, yet with a wistful tenderness of poise, a mystery of shadowed eyes that gave life to what might have been a marble goddess.' (Graham Robertson, Time
Was, 1931, pg. 13) whilst the poet Swinburne exclaimed that she was 'so beautiful I feel as if I could sit down and cry' (Thomas Armstrong, A Memoir 1832-1911, 1912, pg. 195).
Marie's charm was not limited to her physical beauty and she was possessing of a warm and generous personality, great intelligence and much artistic talent as The Childhood of Cecily testifies. She was arguably the most talented of the female Pre-Raphaelite artists, painting over a hundred works in the 1870s and 1880s in a rich style derived from that of Rossetti and of Ford Madox Brown. A beautiful example of her work Portrait of a Young Woman which was painted a year before Marie posed for Rossetti, was offered in these rooms 14 June 2001. The files at the
Delaware Art Museum note that 'she was a very serious artist, working regularly every day in a very disciplined way until her death in 1927 at the age of eighty-three' (catalogue of the collection of the Delaware Art Museum 1974, pg. 172). Her paintings have the same whimsical romance as those of her male counterparts but she will be perhaps always be best remembered as a Pre-Raphaelite model, one of the small group of women whose faces shaped the British notion of beauty.
The composition of The Childhood of Saint Cecily may have been suggested by Dante Gabriel Rossetti who in 1879 asked Marie to pose for the studies for a picture he was devising, depicting Desdemona's servant Amelia dressing the hair of her mistress as Desdemona sings the mournful Willow Song. In Marie's picture she also depicted a girl with her lips parted in song, lost in her thoughts as another woman arranges her hair. The themes of female beauty, music, Medievalism and long red hair are particularly Rossettian and the subject of St Cecily was one that Rossetti drew for a successful drawing made in 1856 for illustration in Edward Moxon's edition of
Tennyson's poems. Whilst Rossetti opted for a sensual, almost erotic rendering of the saint on the battlements of a high-walled palace being ravished by a male angel, Stillman presented a more restrained and gentle image of contrasting female beauties. However, the inclusion of honeysuckle and roses, the symbolism of both being aphrodisiacal, suggests an element of awakening womanhood. Clad in red and white, the colours of passion and purity, Cecily's robes suggest an opposition of the carnal and sacred, of virginity and sensuality.
signed and dated twice l.l.: ARTHUR HUGHES/ 1863 / ARTHUR HUGHES - 1863
oil on canvas, arched top
107 by 92cm., 42 by 36¼in.
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 37,250 GBP
Royal Academy, 1864
The setting is that of a Medieval English church, through the doorway of which can be glimpsed a yew tree bathed in sunshine. On the threshold of the open church door sits a robin listening to the singing of a hymn by the pious congregation. They read from their song-books and do not notice the bird or the three small village girls bedecked in bonnets decorated with wild daisies, who are playing beside the carved stone font. They are making the rainbow light flooding through the stained glass windows dance along their white arms and the floor of the church and only
one person notices them, an aged fellow who reflects on his lost youth as he looks down on the children playing.
Hughes's best known paintings of the 1850s, April Love (Tate) and The Long Engagement (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery) were accompanied by lines of poetry when they were first exhibited, quotations being made from Tennyson's The Miller's Daughter and Chaucer's Triolus and Cresyde respectively. In both paintings the poetry
serves to support the painting's moods rather than to serve as narrative text. The same is true of the present painting, which takes its text from George Herbert's poem Mattens, the final verse of which is as follows;
'Teach me they love to know;
That this new light, which now I see,
May both the work and workman show;
Then by a sunne-beam I shall climb to thee.'
The Font was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864. The commentator for Art Journal regarded the three works that Hughes exhibited that year as proof that he would continue to paint in a distinctive and characteristic way despite the apparent demise of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, with which Hughes had previously been closely
associated. The critic found Hughes's works exhibited there; 'each and all poetic and refined in conception, and singularly sensitive to delicate and harmonious modulations of colour.' (Art Journal, 1864, p.161)
The Font was seen by Lewis Carroll on the 2 April 1864; he noted in his diary; 'Called on Mr Arthur Hughes and saw two pictures nearly ready for the Royal Academy... a scene in church a hymn being sung.' (Roger Lancelyn Green (ed.), The Diaries of Lewis Carroll, 1953, p.212). At this time Hughes titled the picture Light from on High.
The painting was commissioned by the wine merchant John Hamilton Trist (1811-1891) of Vernon Terrace in Brighton who paid £200, a large sum which prompted Hughes to take his first trip abroad to Antwerp, Cologne, Coblenz, Nurenberg, Munich, Innsbruck, Verona and Padua. Trist became Hughes's most consistent patron
following their meeting in 1862 his purchases from Hughes included Home from Sea (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), The King's Orchard (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) and Silver and Gold (collection of Lord Lloyd Webber) another allegory of youth and age.
signed l.r.: ARTHUR HUGHES; inscribed with a poem and the artist's name and address on an old label attached to the reverse
oil on canvas
47 by 86cm., 18½ by 34in.
Royal Academy, 1872
The landscape for the present work was painted in the late 1860s and in 1872 Hughes reworked the foreground with the addition of the milkmaid and the calf, probably at the request of it's first owner John Hamilton Trist. It was at this time that it was given the title, based upon a poem written in Dorset dialect by William Barnes:
'O Poll's the milk-maid o' the farm!
An' Poll's so happy out in groun',
Wi' her white pail below her earm
As if she wore a goolden crown.
In zummer mornens when the lark
Do rouse the little lad an' lass
To work, then she's the vu'st to mark
Her steps along the dewy grass'.
[STUDY FOR MIRANDA (RECTO), SLIGHT SKETCHES OF TREE TRUNKS (VERSO)]
SOLD ON BEHALF OF THE FRIENDS OF KENSAL GREEN CEMETERY MONUMENT APPEAL TO RESTORE THE
MONUMENT TO JOHN WILLIAM WATERHOUSE - Sotheby's
inscribed and dated on the verso: Clippesby/ April 1914
22 by 28cm., 8 1/2 by 11in.