Friday, October 1, 2010

John William Waterhouse - Circe

Price Realized £113,750

oil on canvas
34 x 303/8 in. (86.3 x 77.2 cm.)

The picture is clearly related to The Sorceress, an unfinished canvas by Waterhouse of circa 1911, which would itself more suitably be called Circe since it is inscribed with this title on the back and includes two animals, the victims of Circe's charms, at the left (see Anthony Hobson, The Art and Life of J.W. Waterhouse, 1980, p.128, no. 182.) The attitude of the figures in each picture is almost identical.

Circe was a favourite subject with Waterhouse and other artists in the late Pre-Raphaelite tradition. Waterhouse's main treatments of the theme are Circe offering the Cup to Ullyses (1891, Oldham; illus. Hobson, 1980, pl. 50; 1989, pl. 31) and Circe Invidiosa (1892,
Adelaide; illus. Hobson, 1980, pl. 53; 1989, pl. 32).

We are grateful to the late Dr. Anthony Hobson, and Peter Trippi for their help in the preparation of this catalogue entry.

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