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Auction Description for Sotheby's: Victorian & Edwardian Art
Auction Description:
Victorian & Edwardian Art

Victorian & Edwardian Art

by Sotheby's


93 lots with images

June 27, 2006

34-35 New Bond Street

London, W1A 2AA United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)207 293 5000

Fax: +44 (0)207 293 5989

Email: info@sothebys.com

SIR JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS, P.R.A. 1829-1896

Lot 1: SIR JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS, P.R.A. 1829-1896

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Description: STUDY FOR 'A HUGUENOT'7 by 5 cm., 2 ¾ by 2 in.pencil, arched topPROVENANCEThe artist;By descent to Raoul Millais;By descent to the present ownerLITERATUREJohn Guille Millais, The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais, 2 Vols., London, 1899, I, reproduced, p.137;Arts Council of Great Britain, The Drawings of John Everett Millais, exhibition catalogue by Malcolm Warner, 1979, p.29;Tate Gallery, London, The Pre-Raphaelites, exhibition catalogue, 1984 (under Malcolm Warner's catalogue entry for A Huguenot), p.99NOTEMillais worked on the composition of the painting which came to be called A Huguenot in the period 1851-2. The subject originated in his wish to illustrate Tennyson's poem 'Circumstance' -- which describes 'two lovers whispering by a garden wall'. Holman Hunt encouraged Millais to provide a specific historical setting for the composition. Thus, Millais decided to set the subject in sixteenth-century France, and to show a Huguenot refusing to wear a Roman Catholic badge which might have safeguarded him at a time of persecution of French Protestants. Meyerbeer's opera Les Huguenots, regularly performed at Covent Garden in the early 1850s -- and in which the heroine Valentine is seen attempting to bind a white scarf around her Protestant lover's arm -- seems to have been the immediate inspiration for the subject as treated by Millais. The finished painting, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1852, is now in the Makins collection.The present drawing is one of a number of preparatory designs for A Huguenot. What seems to be the first in the sequence is in the collection of Liverpool City Libraries, and shows the two figures alone in a landscape, facing one another, and with her hands in his. Five further sketches, of which the present is the fourth, are reproduced in J.G. Millais' biography of his father. These show different possible treatments of the subject, including on one occasion an arrangement which involved three or four extra figures -- presumably intended as monks or priests -- and with the lovers centrally positioned and facing the spectator. However, in the present simpler and more immediately legible treatment only one subsidiary figure remains, the sinister onlooker in the right-hand background. Of the central couple, the Huguenot himself is placed on the left side -- as he had been in all the previous sketches, with his lover leaning her body against him and with her right arm around his neck. In the last sketch, as in the finished painting, the composition is turned around to show the male figure on the right side.CSN

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WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT O.M., R.W.S., A.R.S.A. 1827-1910

Lot 2: WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT O.M., R.W.S., A.R.S.A. 1827-1910

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Description: PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG WOMAN, PERHAPS ISABELLA WAUGH55 by 35.5 cm., 21 ½ by 14 in.inscribed by Edith Holman Hunt on the remains of an old label attached to the stretcher: [Fo]r Slubby / [with lo]ve from / Edith H[olman Hunt] / [S]tudy of... / by W.H.[Holman Hunt] / ... / [ma]de... [Cam]pdenoil on canvas in its original frame designed by the artistPROVENANCEGiven by Edith Holman Hunt to Sir John Macdonell, KCB ('Slubby', in her inscription);To his wife, Dame Agnes Macdonell, 1921;To her daughter, Margaret Alder, 1925;To her niece, Imogen Pilch, by 1957;Christie's, London, 14 July 1972, lot 9;Christie's, London, 21 July 1978, lot 49;Sotheby's, London, 15 June 1982, lot 61;Christie's, London, 12 June 1992, lot 110;Christie's, London, 5 March 1993, lot 102;Private collectionLITERATURELynn Roberts, 'Nineteenth Century English Picture Frames II: The Victorian High Renaissance', International Journal of Museum Management and Curatorship, vol.V, 1986, p.275, reproduced in frame, p.280, fig.4;Judith Bronkhurst, William Holman Hunt: A Catalogue Raisonné (to be published by Yale University Press in June 2006), vol.I, cat. no.105, p.206, reproduced in colour; vol.II (in the section 'Frames designed by or partially designed by William Holman Hunt'), no.20, p.312NOTEThis painting appears to be the commencement of a portrait rather than a study for a head to be incorporated into a figurative composition. A woman's head is shown, with her hair drawn back and held by a gold band decorated with an anthemion pattern and stylised lotus flowers.The torn label in Edith Holman Hunt's hand indicates that it was painted at 1 Tor Villa, where Hunt lived for a period of months in the spring and summer of 1866. He was then working on The Festival of St Swithin (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), and otherwise was attempting to get his affairs in order before setting out for the Holy Land. The portrait was presumably left unfinished because Hunt ran out of time before his departure for the East. There may have been plans to work on it again -- an extra strip of canvas was added to the lower edge at some stage, which would have allowed space for more of the figure's shoulders and arms to be shown -- perhaps in the late 1860s. That the painting was something of which Hunt was proud, despite its having been left unfinished, is demonstrated by its placing in a frame made to the artist's own design and which incorporated disks representing the phases of the moon. This decorative motif has lead to the suggestion that the figure was intended to represent Artemis, the virgin goddess of the hunt who also presided over the transition of girls into a state of womanhood (see Roberts, loc. cit.). The pattern of the frame is based on a drawn study that Hunt made in Palestine in 1876 and which is inscribed 'Arab ornamental frieze on doorway of Mosque Jerusalem' (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery).The portrait is likely to show a member of the Waugh family. Holman Hunt was married first to Fanny Waugh, who died in 1866, and then in 1875 to her sister Edith. A distinct physical resemblance on the part of the sitter to each of them (as they are seen in portraits by Hunt in Toledo Museum of Art and private collection, respectively) suggests that this may be of Isabella, another of their siblings, who had been born in 1843. If this theory is correct, it may be that Hunt finally abandoned the portrait at the time when relations with the Waugh family deteriorated when Edith and he announced their intention to marry (the Waughs were opposed to the marriage because according to English law, it was illegal for someone to be wed to his deceased wife's sister). CSNWe are grateful to Dr Judith Bronkhurst for assistance in the preparation of this catalogue note. The possibly identification of the sitter has been suggested by Dr Bronkhurst.

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GEORGE FREDERIC WATTS, O.M., R.A. 1817-1904

Lot 3: GEORGE FREDERIC WATTS, O.M., R.A. 1817-1904

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Description: PORTRAIT OF MISS CHARICLEA IONIDES, LATER DANNREUTHER30.5 by 27 cm., 12 by 10 ½ in.oil on canvas laid on panel, ovalPROVENANCEAlexander Constantine Ionides and thence by descentLITERATUREMary Watts, 'MS Catalogue of [the] Works [of George Frederic Watts] compiled by his widow', n.d., II, p.75; NOTEChariclea Euterpe Anthea Ionides was the fifth and last child of Alexander Constantine and Euterpe Ionides. Three years before her birth in 1844, George Frederic Watts had painted the splendid group portrait of the Ionides parents and their four eldest children, Constantine Alexander, Aglaia, Luke Alexander and Alecco which was sold at Sotheby's on 7th June 2005 and which is now in the collection of the Watts Museum at Compton (see Fig.1). The present oval, which was painted in about 1849 when the sitter was approximately five years old, was probably regarded as a kind of postscript to the earlier work, as it of course shows the only family member not present in the group portrait.The Anglo-Greek Ionides family were remarkable patrons of the arts. Alexander Constantine Ionides, Chariclea's father, was a close friend of Watts, and in addition to commissioning works from him, relied upon him for recommendations as to which contemporary artists' works he should buy. This he did with the utmost generosity and open-mindedness, particularly encouraging their patronage of the American painter James McNeill Whistler. Chariclea's siblings were all great supporters of the arts. Constantine Alexander, relying on the advice of Alphonse Legros, formed a collection of old masters and works by contemporary French and British painters which was bequeathed to the Victoria and Albert Museum at his death in 1900. Alecco was to be a patron of Whistler, Rossetti and Watts, and was the pioneering collector of Hellenistic sculpture who seems to have led the cult interest in Tanagra figurines which swept through the Aesthetic circle in the 1870s. Aglaia, who married Theodore Coronio, a fellow-member of the Anglo-Greek business community, modelled for Burne-Jones's The Mill. All lived in beautiful houses, stored with marvellous objects of contemporary and historical art. Constantine, Alecco, and Chariclea all employed Philip Webb -- the most progressive of all British architects of the day -- to build or adapt houses for them. In Chariclea's case, Webb was commissioned to build the music room at their London house at 12 Orme Square.Mary Watts remembered Chariclea as 'beautiful and clever as a child, [and one who] attracted many adorers'. At a young age she met and fell in love with the pianist Edward Dannreuther (1844-1905). The Ionides family were opposed to the match until Alexander Constantine, 'at last convinced of [Dannreuther's] great future, ... permitted them to marry in 1871' (quoted from Mary Watts, 'MS Catalogue of [the] Works [of George Frederic Watts] compiled by his widow', n.d., II, p.75). Edward Dannreuther, who had been born in Strasbourg but whose family had migrated to the United States in 1846, lived in England from 1863, that same year giving historic performances of Chopin's F minor Piano Concerto and Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concert in London. Dannreuther was a particular champion of Wagner, whom he came to know well, and founded the London Wagner Society in 1872. In the 1870s and 80s Edward and Chariclea Dannreuther arranged chamber concerts at Orme Square, at which works by Brahms, Scharwenka, Sgambati, Tchaikovsky, Rheinberger, Stanford, Parry and Richard Strauss were offered to English audiences. CSN

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DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI 1828-1882

Lot 4: DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI 1828-1882

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Description: ANGELS WATCHING THE CROWN OF THORNS AND THE ROD WITH WHICH CHRIST WAS SCOURGED49 by 34 cm., 19 by 13 ½ in.oil on canvas laid down on boardPROVENANCELyne collection; Jane Elliott and thence by descentEXHIBITEDLondon, Royal Academy, Rossetti Exhibition, 1973, no.115;London, Tate Gallery, The Pre-Raphaelites, 1984, no.11LITERATUREA.I. Grieve, The Art of Dante Gabriel Rossetti -- The Pre-Raphaelite Period 1848-50, Norfolk, 1973, p.2;The Pre-Raphaelites, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, 1984, no.11, illustrated p.59NOTERossetti painted this subject while working in Ford Madox Brown's studio in the spring and early summer of 1848. It was apparently based on part of Brown's lost subject The Seraph's Watch. This was probably identical with the work entitled A Reminiscence of the Early Masters, which Brown had exhibited at the British Institution in 1847, and which Rossetti referred to in the letter he wrote to Brown in March 1848 asking to be taken on by Brown as his pupil. The present work shows two angel children, one standing or sitting behind the other, and each looking down with reverent expression on the Crown of Thorns and the rod with which Christ had been scourged at His Passion. The painting is unfinished in parts. The wing of the angel whose hands are shown in prayer is indicated with a drawn line. Alastair Grieve describes the work as 'light toned, delicately painted and filled with a sense of primitive, trusting, religious faith. It is narrow in shape and in this and in its predominant whiteness it looks ahead to Rossetti's second major oil Ecce Ancilla Domini!' (Grieve, op. cit., pp.1-2).The present painting was rediscovered after the publication of Virginia Surtees's Rossetti Catalogue Raisonné (1971), and was first seen in a public exhibition on the occasion of the Royal Academy Rossetti exhibition of 1973.CSN

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GEORGE FREDERIC WATTS, O.M., R.A. 1817-1904

Lot 5: GEORGE FREDERIC WATTS, O.M., R.A. 1817-1904

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Description: PORTRAIT OF AGLAIA CORONIO (NÉE IONIDES)61 by 51 cm., 24 by 20 in.oil on canvasPROVENANCEAlexander C. Ionides, the father of the sitter;By descent in the Ionides family;Sotheby's, 6 November 1995, lot 243;Private collection LITERATUREMary Watts, 'G. F. Watts: Catalogue of works compiled by his widow', Box 2, vol.2, p.39NOTEAglaia Coronio was the second child and eldest daughter of Alexander Constantine and Euterpe Ionides, and was born in 1834. In the group portrait of the Ionides family (sold in these rooms, 7 June 2005, lot 6, and now in the Watts Museum at Compton, near Guildford), she is shown as the child who puts her arms around her mother's neck. She married Theodore Coronio, who was also a member of the Anglo-Greek business community based in London, in about 1855. Aglaia and Theodore Coronio had one daughter, Calliope, who was herself painted by Watts. The present portrait seems to have been painted in the 1870s, when Aglaia was about forty years old. She died in 1906.Admired for her great beauty and for her intense artistic sensibility, Aglaia was the friend of many painters, designers and musicians. She was also painted by Edward Burne-Jones, appearing as one of the dancing figures in the figurative landscape The Mill (the other two girls are Maria Zambaco and Marie Spartali), a work which belonged to Aglaia's brother Constantine and which is now part of the Ionides collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum. In addition she assisted Burne-Jones by suggesting other models that he might use in his paintings, and by advising on props and fabrics to be introduced. She was also a friend of William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.Watts's portrait of her has a fleeting quality, as if she has only momentarily turned her head to allow a glimpse of her features. The painting conveys her beauty, but also something of her psychological fragility.CSN

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