Lot 39: JOHN RODDAM SPENCER STANHOPE
The Collecting Eye of Seymour Stein
December 11, 2003
New York, NY, USA
SIGNED AND DATED (MAKER'S MARKS)
titled and inscribed twice with the artist's name and address at: 4 Harley Place, Harley Street on two labels on the frame and stretcher
In the early 1870's, Stanhope painted a cycle of eight canvases based on verses from The Song of Solomon. Rossetti, Burne-Jones and J.M. Strudwick had each depicted scenes from Solomon's verses, which enjoyed increased popularity amongst Pre-Raphaelites drawn to the poem's interlaced themes of physical beauty, sexual desire and lyrical imagery. Stanhope designed the cycle as a tryptch, with eight individual gouaches attached to three main panels; each work measured only 15 1/4 by 20 3/4 and was fitted with a matching Renaissance style frame (see Sale, Sotheby's, London, November 27, 1991, lot 172).
Stanhope enlarged two scenes from the cycle into more major oil on canvas compositions and confusingly, entitled both of the paintings The Shulamite. This work is the first of the two, completed and exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1878; the painting illustrates Song of Solomon Chapter 1 verse 8, "If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents." The second painting depicted Chapter III, verse 5, and was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery exhibition of 1882. Though influenced by the works of Burne-Jones, Stanhope's distinct, personal style owes much to the paintings of Botticelli. His affinity for line and seemingly wet draperies, as well as his love for rich, saturated color evidence his passion for Florentine Renaissance art, which prompted Stanhope to live in Florence from 1880 until his death in 1908.
Provenance: Sale, Sotheby's, London, November 25, 1987, lot 40, illustrated
37 by 49 1/4 in.
94 by 125 cm
Artist or Maker: British, 1829-1908
Exhibited: London, Grosvenor Gallery, Summer Exhibition, 1878, no. 86
Henry Blackburn, Grosvenor Notes, 1878, p. 32, illustrated
The Magazine of Art, 1878, p. 81
Medium: oil on canvas