The world’s premier auctions
Be the first to know about
the latest online auctions.
Please enter a valid email address (
Sign Up »
PS: We value your privacy
Thank you!
Want to learn more
about online auctions?
Take a Quick Tour »
is now
To celebrate, we’ve enhanced our site with
larger images and browsing by category to help
you easily find what you’re passionate about.
Remember to update your bookmarks.
Get Started »
Invaluable cannot guarantee the accuracy of translations through Google Translate and disclaims any responsibility for inaccurate translations.
Show translation options

Lot 36: Valentine Cameron Prinsep (British, 1838-1904)

Orientalist Art

by Christie's

July 9, 2009

London, United Kingdom

Valentine Cameron Prinsep (1838-1904) Please Register/Login to access your Invaluable Alerts

Looking for the realized and estimated price?

Description: Valentine Cameron Prinsep (British, 1838-1904)
The handmaidens of Sivawara preparing the sacred bull at Tanjore for a festival.
oil on canvas
58 x 73¾ in. (147.3 x 111.5 cm.)

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Valentine Prinsep was born in India, the son of Henry Thoby Prinsep, a distinguished Indian civil servant, and his wife Sara, one of the famous Pattle sisters. In October 1876 he was asked by Lord Lytton, Viceory of India and a family friend, to go to India and paint the great Assemblage or durbar held at Delhi to proclaim Queen Victoria Empress of India. The enormous canvas, crowded with portraits of maharajahs, was a formidable undertaking and was not exhibited at the Royal Academy until 1880. Presented to the Queen Empress by her Indian subjects it still hangs in St. James's Palace.

Prinsep also painted other Indian subjects. In 1879 he published Imperial India: An Artist's Journals, a colourful account of his fourteen-month stay in the sub-continent. A group of his Indian sketches exist in the V&A.

Prinsep received his initial artistic education from G.F. Watts who lived with his parents at Little Holland House in Kensington as their 'genius in residence'. He then studied in Paris under Charles Gleyre, where he was depicted as 'Taffy' in Trilby, du Maurier's novel of the vie de bohême. The present picture betrays the influence of his parents' neighbour, Frederic, Lord Leighton, a leading member of the so-called 'Holland Park Circle'. Leighton was a classicist, who presented the Victorian public with depictions of Ancient Greece and Rome. Prinsep echoed the monumentality of Leighton's work in his depiction of the Hindu ceremony, and conveyed the startling exoticism of the East to a London audience by exhibiting the picture at the Royal Academy in 1886.

Exhibited: London, Royal Academy, 1886, no. 434, as: The handmaidens of Siva preparing the sacred bull at Tanjore for a festival.

Bid Now on Items for Sale

(view more)
View more items for sale »