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Thomas Seddon Auction Price Results

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Thomas B. Seddon (1821-1856)

Estimate: $127,200 - $190,800

Description: Arabs at Prayer in the Desert oil on canvas, unfinished 25 x 44 in. (63.5 x 111.8 cm.) PROVENANCE with The Maas Gallery, London. Private collection, U.S.A., in 1973. Acquired by the present owner in 1985. LITERATURE A. Staley, The Pre-Raphaelite Landscape, Oxford, 1973, pp. 102-3, pl. 53a; 2nd ed., 2001, p. 137, pl. 107. EXHIBITION The artist's studio, 14 Berners Street, London, 17 March - 3 June 1855. Probably London, Society of Arts, Seddon memorial exhibition, May 1857. Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Visions of the Ottoman Empire, 1994. Espejismos del Medio Oriente: Delacroix a Moreau, 1999-2000, no. 88. NOTES Born in London in 1821, Seddon was the son of Thomas Seddon, a well-known cabinet-maker, and the elder brother of the architect J.P. Seddon (1827-1906). At the age of sixteen he entered his father's business, and in 1841 he went to Paris to study ornamental art. He was to remain in the furniture trade throughout the 1840s; the Society of Arts awarded him a medal for a design for a sideboard in 1848. Seddon, however, had ambitions to become a painter. He was probably inspired by meeting Ford Madox Brown and his circle of expatriate artists in Paris, and certainly Brown became Seddon's mentor when he finally settled in England after his continental wanderings in 1846. We find Seddon studying drawing with Brown's friend Charles Lucy, who had been a pupil of Delaroche in Paris, and attending life classes at the Clipstone Street Artists Society, of which Brown was a leading light. In 1850 Seddon was working in Brown's studio, and they remained on close terms until Seddon's death in 1856. Seddon's work took a definite turn towards landscape when he went to paint at Bettws-y-Coed, North Wales, in the summer of 1849. The following year saw him similarly employed at Barbizon. Unfortunately his work from this period is lost, so we cannot tell if it showed the influence of David Cox, the dominant presence at Bettws-y-Coed (and a definite influence on Seddon's fellow Pre-Raphaelite landscapist G.P. Boyce) or the Barbizon school. Seddon's earliest surviving picture is L‚hon, from Mont Parnasse, Brittany (Museo de Arte, Ponce, Puerto Rico), exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1854, and the prevailing influence here is that of Madox Brown. Seddon had found the subject near Dinan, where he spent the summers of 1852 and 1853. He married a local girl in 1855, and for the last few years of his life the town was his second home. In December 1850 Seddon suffered a near-fatal attack of rheumatic fever. This crisis not only finally determined him to give up cabinet-making for painting but induced a mood of religious fervour which, in part at least, led him to accompany Holman Hunt to the East in 1853-4. After an initial spell in Egypt, where they both painted the Great Sphinx at Giza, the artists arrived in Jerusalem on 3 June 1854 and Seddon embarked on his masterpiece, Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat from the Hill of Evil Council (fig. 1). He left Jerusalem on 19 October, was back in Dinan by 4 November, and returned to London two months later. Hunt stayed on in the Holy Land until October 1855. Seddon continued to work on his Eastern pictures in Dinan and London; Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat was finally completed with the help and advice of Madox Brown. He also began new works based on sketches he had made in the East, including the present picture. 'The most important of these', Allen Staley writes in the new edition of his Pre-Raphaelite Landscape, 'was a large Arabs at Prayer in the Desert... In Cairo he had made several sketches of camels and arabs, and he borrowed details in this picture from them. The foreground camel is copied directly from the earlier Dromedary and Arabs at the City of the Dead, Cairo ', a sketch completed in England and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1856 (private collection). 'In painting a major work in the studio,' Staley continues, 'and basing it on earlier work rather than direct observation, Seddon was not following strict Pre-Raphaelite practice, and the result looks more like an Eastern subject by John Frederick Lewis than one by Holman Hunt. Indeed, he may have been inspired by Lewis's Well in the Desert (Victoria and Albert Museum), which had been exhibited at the Old Water-Colour Society in the spring of 1855, shortly before Seddon began his picture.' If this was the case, Seddon must have worked quickly since the picture appeared in the exhibition of his works which he held in his Berners Street studio between 17 March and 3 June 1855. The exhibition was seen by Ruskin, who, according to Seddon, 'came and stayed a long time. He was very much pleased with everything...(observing) "Well, Mr S., before I saw these, I never thought it possible to attain such an effect of sun and light without sacrificing truth of colour."' Staley offers some comments on this remark and Ruskin's subsequent assessment of Seddon's work. Seddon returned to the East in the autumn of 1856, intending (like Hunt) to paint views of the Dead Sea and (like another friend, Edward Lear) the cedars of Lebanon, but he contracted dysentry en route and died at Cairo on 23 November 1856. Arabs at Prayer in the Desert was still not finished, but, like almost everything else in his studio, it was probably included in the memorial exhibition which friends arranged at the Society of Arts in 1857. SALESROOM NOTICE Please note that Professor Allen Staley has kindly pointed out that this picture is mentioned in J.P. Seddon's Memoir and Letters of the late Thomas Seddon, Artist, published in London in 1858, p. 151. Having referred to the closing of the exhibition that Seddon had held in his studio from 17 March to 3 June 1855, and his marriage on 30 June, the writer continued: 'He commenced a large oil picture of "Arabs at Prayer in the Desert", and during the winter completed several of his unfinished studies, to be in readiness for the next season.' As Professor Staley observes, this clearly contradicts the statement made in the catalogue that the picture was included in Seddon's studio exhibition; and he doubts whether in any case the artist would have shown a work in such an unfinished state.

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Description: Jerusalem, mono.d.1854 W/C Works on paper (17x11in).

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Estimate: £40,000 - £60,000

Description: PROPERTY OF PRE-RAPHAELITE INC. 1821-1856 PENELOPE 'THEN DURING THE DAY SHE WOVE THE LARGE WEB, WHICH AT NIGHT SHE UNRAVELLED' THE ODYSSEY signed and dated l.r.: T Seddon 18/52 oil on canvas 91.5 by 71cm., 36 by 28in.

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Ford Madox Brown (1821-1893)

Estimate: $4,650 - $7,750

Description: Portrait of Emma Madox Brown, bust-length signed with initials and dated 'FMB/5(6?) April/53' (lower right) pencil 5 1/8 x 41/4 in. (13 x 10.8 cm.) PROVENANCE Charles Fairfax Murray (+); Christie's, London, 2 February 1920 (2nd day), part of lot 194 (13 gns to Samual). NOTES Emma Madox Brown (1829?-1890) was the artist's second wife. Born Emma Matilda Hill, the daughter of a Herefordshire farmer, she was modelling for him by 1848 and bore him a child, Catherine, on 11 November 1850. They eventually married on 5 April 1853, the wedding taking place at St Dunstan's-in-the-West, Fleet Street, with D.G. Rossetti and Thomas Seddon as witnesses. The present drawing was clearly made to mark the happy event, being dated either 5 or 6 April 1853 (one numeral seems to have been written over the other, but it is hard to determine in what order). A drawing of Emma by Rossetti, made on 1 May 1853, less than a month later, is in the Birmingham Art Gallery (Virginia Surtees, Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Catalogue Raisonn‚, 1971, cat. no. 272, pl. 395). Unfortunately Madox Brown's diary (published 1981) lapses between 1850 and 1854, so it sheds no further light on the circumstances in which the drawing was made. Emma modelled for many of Brown's pictures, including 'Take your Son, Sir' (1851-7; Tate Gallery), 'The Pretty Baa-Lambs' (1851-9) and 'The Last of England' (1852-5; both Birmingham Art Gallery). Her features, particularly her rather narrow eyes and prominent teeth, are easily recognisable. On the whole it was a happy marriage, although in later years Emma's heavy drinking caused her husband much distress.

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Estimate: £6,000 - £8,000

Description: LONDON  1821-1856  CAIRO VIEW  ON  THE  NILE  NEAR  CAIRO,  EGYPT Watercolour  over  pencil,  heightened  with  bodycolour  and  stopping  out;signed  with  monogram,  lower  left 190  by  355  mm

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Estimate: £10,000 - £15,000

Description: signed with monogram l.l.watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour and stopping outCATALOGUE NOTEThis is a rare work by Seddon, the pupil and friend of William Holman Hunt and dates from his visit to Egypt and the Holy Land with Hunt in 1853. Seddon started his working life in his father's firm of cabinet-makers but finding that this of little interest to him, he turned to landscape painting in the late 1840s. In North Wales in 1849, he began his first real landscape studies which he continued at Barbizon the following year. In 1853, hearing that Hunt was planning a visit to Egypt, he asked to join him and set off ahead of Hunt, arriving in Alexandria on 6th December 1853. He continued to Cairo where he stayed in the Williams' Indian Family Hotel and met Hunt there in late January. Seddon met Edward Lear who was staying in the same hotel, but Lear had left by the time Hunt arrived.Seddon settled easily into the Egyptian way of life. Hunt complained of his friendliness to the Egyptians and his habit of wearing native dress: 'His devout admiration of the Arabs is perfectly exasperating. They are the meanest sneaks in the world and he never tires of praising them. His adoption of the costume is simply amusing... (see George P. Landow, Your good influence on me- The Correspondence of John Ruskin and William Holman Hunt, 1977, pp.25-26). Board and lodging at the hotel cost seven shillings a day but life in the desert was cheaper and they lived off snipe and plovers which they shot. In mid February they camped near the Sphinx for several days but this was not to Hunt's liking and he soon returned to Cairo, while Seddon stayed on for almost two months, living in a tomb behind the Sphinx.In April they travelled down the eastern branch of the Nile on a diabeyah on their way to Jerusalem. They worked on their watercolours and would swim in the river when the heat became too much. They spent six months in Jerusalem - Seddon spent much of the time living under canvas working on a large panorama of Jerusalem which he later exhibited entitled 'Jerusalem and the Valley of Jehoshaphat'. Seddon felt grateful at having spent so much time with Hunt - he wrote to Millais 'I think our intimacy is a most valuable and useful lesson to me, for which I may thank God, and by which I hope to profit much myself; for he has the courage to say openly what he thinks is right' (see John Guille Millais, The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais, 1899, p.403).On his return to London, he showed his work to Ruskin who reportedly told Seddon 'Before I saw these, I never thought it possible to attain such an effect of tone and light without sacrificing truth of colour' (see Robert Hewison, Ruskin, Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, 2000, p.211). He received a number of commissions for Egyptian subjects and returned there in 1856. However he tragically died of dysentery shortly after he arrived. His friends in London including Ruskin raised funds to help his widow and bought his large 'Jerusalem' panorama for the National Gallery. This was the first Pre-Raphaelite picture to enter the national collection.After Seddon's death Ruskin wrote 'Mr Seddon's works are the first which represent a truly historic landscape art; that is to say, they are the first landscapes uniting perfect artistical skill with topographical accuracy, being directed with stern self-restraint to no other purpose than that of giving to persons who cannot travel trustworthy knowledge of the scenes which ought to be more interesting to them' (John Ruskin, speech to a meeting of the Seddon Memorial Committee, March 1857).By 1870, Ruskin remembered Hunt and Seddon's Egyptian pictures with warmth: 'I do not know an entirely faithful drawing of any historical site, except one of two studies made by enthusiastic young painters in Palestine and Egypt: for which, thanks to them always' (lecture on 'The Relation of Art to Use', March 1870)

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Seddon, Thomas (1821 London-Kairo 1856) att.

Estimate: €0 - €2,000

Description: Seddon, Thomas (1821 London-Kairo 1856) att. Betender Orientale in der Wüste. Öl/Lwd. (doubliert), re. u. bez. T. Seddon, 52x 73 cm, R."

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Seddon, Thomas (1821 London-Kairo 1856), att.

Estimate: €0 - €1

Description: Seddon, Thomas (1821 London-Kairo 1856), att. Betender Orientale in der Wüste. Öl/Lwd. (doubliert), re. u. bez. T. Seddon, 52x 73 cm, R.

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