ARTHISTORICAL Ltd F Winter 2018-19
ARTHISTORICAL Ltd F
We are delighted to present this catalogue, which highlights a selection of our current stock of European sculpture, paintings and works of art, including a beautiful gilt bronze relief recently attributed to BarthĂŠlemy Prieur, four important British Royal portrait busts, and a fine eighteenth-century portrait painting of an aristocratic East India Company Captain. Stephen & Sam Porter
All works of art listed are for sale (subject to availability) and can be viewed in central London Arthistorical Ltd. London W1, UK +44 (0)207 328 7767 +44 (0)7768 395 500 firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com www.arthistorical.com
1 Barthélemy Prieur (Berzieux 1540-1611, Paris), Attributed to Relief of a Sacra Conversazione French, circa 1600 Gilt bronze Dimensions: width 17.3 cm. / 6 ¾ ins, height 13.2 cm. / 5 ¼ ins This outstandingly well-realised narrative plaque, showing Zachariah presenting the infant John the Baptist to the Christ-child, the Virgin and St Anne, was clearly designed to be framed for devotional purposes. It can be attributed only on the basis of internal evidence, for – seemingly being unpublished – it brings with it no information from earlier scholarly opinion. However, an attentive examination, involving the comparison in style and physical type of all five diverse figures involved in the Sacred Drama independently of one another, leads ineluctably to the conclusion that it is almost certainly a masterwork by Barthélemy Prieur: surprisingly, it may indeed be the first narrative relief to be identified as by him (only two bronze heads in relief are recorded in his inventory of 1583). Prieur was a French court sculptor working in stone and marble who, especially towards the end of his life, specialized in casting bronze statuettes in commercial series. Characteristic of Prieur’s many statuettes and busts of young women – nearly always secular, indeed pagan, classical nymphs or goddesses – is the profile of the face such as is used here for the Virgin Mary: a high forehead sloping back in an almost Grecian continuous line from a small nose, with a receding hairline, while small pursed lips appear above a daintily receding chin. Several of his statuettes of nude women attending to their toilet, one of a maidservant on the way to market and another – probably a wet-nurse – seated to suckle a swaddled baby on her lap, are shown wearing a variety of pleated bonnets, not dissimilar from the more elaborate, perhaps more formal, mob-cap that the Virgin Mary wears here for this important occasion. Meanwhile, the play of folds, with deep flutes seemingly gouged out of the broader planes of fabric and echoing one another in a profusion of nearly parallel lines, finds close analogies in the clothes of the kneeling Milkmaid with a cow. The divine child is a close cousin in appearance and his bouffant curls – if not in behaviour – of an all-too-human toddler in Prieur’s A Mother and Child (Wallace Collection, London), who is being gently taught to urinate neatly by his kneeling, nude and attractive young mother; as well as his Running Boy or Cupid, shooting with a bow and arrow. The elderly Zacharias, who leans forward from the left, with his eyes focussed on the Baby Jesus, but meanwhile restraining his son from advancing too eagerly, finds a resonance in a well-known genre-statuette by Prieur of a Vintner with basket, staff and a pruning-hook stuck behind his belt; while a companion of this statuette showing a Peasant-woman carrying a pot on her head (perhaps a fishwife?) provides in her rather severe, lined, face and hooded headgear a prototype for the ageing St Anne, who is shown backing up her daughter from the upper right corner.
These similarities in style, dress and physiognomy support the attribution to Prieur, which makes this beautiful relief a fascinating extension of his known oeuvre. Charles Avery, Ph.D.
G. Brière e M.-M. Lamy, ‘L’inventaire de Barthélémy Prieur, sculpteur du roi’, in Bulletin historique et littéraire de la Société du Protestantisme français, XCVI, (Paris, 1949), pp.41-68); C. Grodecki, Documents du Minutier Central des Notaires de Paris: histoire de l’art aux XVIe siècle (1540-1600), II (Paris, 1986) pp. 129-33; M. Bückling, Die Negervenus, Liebieghaus, Frankfurt-am-Main, 1991; A. Lefebure, “L’atelier de Barthélemy Prieur et l’imagerie royale sous le règne d’Henri IV”, and R. Seelig-Teeuwen, “Barthélemy Prieur, portraitiste d’Henri IV et Marie de Medicis”, in Avènement d’Henri IV, quatrième centenaire, vol. 5, Les arts au temps d’Henri IV, Association Henri IV, 1989 (Pau, 1992); R. Seelig-Teeuwen, ‘Barthélemy Prieur, contemporain de Germain Pilon’, in Germain Pilon et les sculpteurs français de la Renaissance (Louvre, Conférences et colloques. La Documentation française) (Paris, 1993), pp. 365-85; Anthony Radcliffe, The Robert H. Smith Collection: Bronzes 1500-1600 (London, 1994), pp. 150-55; R. Seelig-Teeuwen, ‘Prieur’, in The Dictionary of Art, London, 1996, vol. 25, pp. 576-77; R. Seelig-Teeuwen, ‘Prieur’, in The Encyclopedia of Sculpture (New York/London, 2004), pp. 1362-65
2 Circle of Antoine Coysevox (Lyons, 1640-1720, Paris) Portrait relief of a Magistrate or Judge Circa 1700 Marble, pigment applied to hair Height: 45 cm. / 17 ¾ ins, diameter: 35 cm. / 13 ¾ ins This portrait relief of a judge or magistrate, identified by his double-winged collar and large wig (see Coquery, op. cit., for a painted example), relates to a genre of portrait sculpture which became particularly popular in France during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV (1638-1715). It was most likely a commission from the sitter, either as an independent work or possibly as part of a larger monument, in which relief portraits of the living or deceased were often incorporated into parts of the design. As would befit his mature age and high status, as one of the King’s magistrates in the Royal court at Versailles, the sitter wears a superior expression with his furrowed, creased brow. The long hair of the wig, which is emphasised by the application of a dark patina, is skilfully carved in luxuriant bands ending in delicate twisting curls, while the all’antica drapery underneath the wing collar is conceived as short and crumpled folds. During his reign, Louis developed a large and competitive circle of sculptors who set up studios at his court in Versailles, as well as in Paris. Two of the most successful court sculptors of this period were François Girardon (1628-1715) and, towards the end of the century, Antoine Coysevox, who both produced relief portraits of the King. It is in the later works by Coysevox and in the circle of sculptors who trained in his studio where we find the closest similarities to the present relief. Portraits by Coysevox exhibit a similar attention to the individual features of the sitter, known as verism, as we find in this one. Among the sculptors active in Coysevox’s circle during this period was François Coudray (1678-1727), who trained in Coysevox’s studio in the 1690s before moving to Paris and later to Saxony, where he worked for the Elector Augustus the Strong (see Souchal, op. cit). A relief by Coudray of the Elector’s son, Prince Friedrich August II (c.1725, Schloss Moritzburg, Germany) can be related to our relief in terms of the thick, unruly locks of the wig, as well as appearing to have a similar dark pigment applied to the hair. These similarities in style and execution suggest that the author of this relief trained under Coysevox or worked in his circle in Paris or Versailles. RELATED LITERATURE:
Emmanuel Coquery, et al., Visages Du Grand Siecles, catalogue of an exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-arts, Nantes, 20 June-15 Sep 1997 (Somology, Paris, 1997), p. 40, fig. 26; Michael Levey, Painting and Sculpture in France, 1700-1789 (Yale University Press, 1993); François Souchal, French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th centuries: The Reign of Louis XIV, Vol. A-F (Cassirer, Oxford, 1977), pp. 126-27, no. 4a
3 Andrea Casali (Civitavecchia, 1705-1784, Rome) Portrait of The Hon. Augustus Townshend (1716 – c.1745) Inscribed upper right: ‘Augs. Townshend Obt. 1745/2nd son of Charles Lord Vis./Townshend by his 2nd wife’ Oil on canvas Dimensions: 224 x 146 cm. / 88 x 57 ins, incl. frame: 257 x 180 cm. / 101 x 71 ins PROVENANCE:
Collection of the Church Commissioners, Lambeth Palace (by c.1860); Private collection, England LITERATURE:
Giancarlo Sestieri, Repertorio Della Pittura Romana Della Fine del Seicento e del Settecento (Turin, Umberto Allemandi & C.), Vol I, pp. 43-44, Vol II, pl. 224 (illustrated)
This picture, which shows the subject standing full-length in an elegant and lofty room, has impressive provenance, having once hung in Lambeth Palace. It is a fine example of eighteenthcentury English portraits of “men of the day”. The sitter is the Hon. Augustus Townshend, second son of Charles, 2nd Viscount Townshend and his second wife, Dorothy, daughter of Robert Walpole of Houghton, Norfolk, and sister of Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Oxford. Augustus Townshend was a merchant adventurer and Captain with the East India Company. It is recorded that in 1745 Townshend commanded the ship Augusta on its voyage to the East Indies; at some point during the voyage, Townshend fell ill and subsequently died some months later at Batavia, at a tragically young age.1 In the present portrait he is depicted proudly showing his commission from the East India Company, as he points to a map and papers on the table to his right. The artist, Andrea Casali, was born in Civitavecchia near Rome in 1705 and studied in The Eternal City as a pupil of Sebastiano Conca and Francesco Trevisani. In the late 1720s and 1730s, under the patronage of Pope Benedetto XIII, Casali gained several important commissions in Rome, mainly church frescoes, a notable example of which is the series in the cloister of San Sisto Vecchio. The present portrait was executed during Casali’s long stay in England, a period of some 25 years, from 1741 to 1766. Once in England, Casali found in William Beckford an important patron, who commissioned him to carry out the decoration of his mansion at Fonthill in Wiltshire. He also executed a number of portraits for Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester, including those of the Earl and Countess, which still hang where they were painted, in Holkham Hall, Norfolk; while it was only a few miles away, at Raynham Hall (the family seat of the Townshend’s) where Augustus Townshend probably sat for Casali for this present portrait. Towards the end of his stay in England, Casali worked alongside Robert Adam on the decoration of Syon House, owned by Hugh Percy, 1st Duke of Northumberland.
See The Naval Chronicle: Volume 14, July-December 1805 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), p. 94.
4 Sir Francis Chantrey (Jordanthorpe, 1781-1841, London), Attributed to Portrait bust of King George IV (1762 – 1830, reigned 1820-30) Circa 1822 White marble Height: 71.5 cm. / 28 ¼ ins incl. socle PROVENANCE:
Presumed to be one of the unsigned and undated busts made for the King in 1822; Collection of Ian Dawson Grant (1925-1998), first Secretary of the Victorian Society; Bequeathed by the above to a private collection, UK
This striking bust of King George IV is closely related to an official portrait of the King by Sir Francis Chantrey from the early 1820s, when the sculptor’s reputation was at its zenith. Like the official (and more ubiquitous) fully draped version, the present bust portrays the King in an heroic manner, his head turned to sinister, a partly bared chest, long manly neck and hair carved intricately in luxurious curls. Both versions are reminiscent of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s painted portrait of King George IV from the same period (1821, Royal Collection), where the King is portrayed as a confident patrician ruler, with a haughtily turned gaze and flowing curls of hair. The present composition, however, of which no other copies are known, is a more informal portrayal of the King than the official version, with the classical drapery reduced to a small garment on the left shoulder. This rendering of the drapery is a common feature in several other busts by Chantrey, such as his portrait of Samuel Shore (1817, Victoria and Albert Museum, London). Whilst there are also slight differences from the official version in the rendering of the hair, the similarity of the facial features and expression, as well as the quality of the carving itself, evident in the abundant all’ antica curls and drill-work, all confirm the attribution to Chantrey. It is likely, therefore, that the present bust was a commission from the King soon after Chantrey’s life drawings of 1821, which either preceded the official bust or was a later, more intimate version made specially for the King. It may relate to one of the two apparently unsigned and undated busts of George IV delivered to the King at Carlton House in April 1822, as recorded in the Chantrey Ledger (op. cit.), one of which was destined for the King’s mistress, Lady Conyngham, the other of which was exhibited at the Royal Academy. Sir Francis Chantrey was the outstanding British portrait sculptor of his generation, celebrated for his simple yet powerful studies of character. Born in 1781 in Jordanthorpe, near Sheffield, he began his career in painted portraiture but soon turned his hand to sculpture. By 1809 he had settled in London and his first major success was a strong but naturalistic bust of Horne Tooke (Fitzwilliam Museum) exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1811. This led to further commissions for portrait
busts and for the rest of his prolific career he was never short of work in this area. Chantrey travelled to Paris in 1814 and Rome in 1819, where he visited the studios of Canova and Thorvaldsen. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1818 and in 1835 he was knighted by King William IV, for whom he was Sculptor-in-Ordinary from 1830. By the end of his life Chantrey had built a considerable fortune, most of which he left to the Royal Academy for purchasing work by British artists. RELATED LITERATURE:
Malcolm Baker, Alex Potts, et al (eds.), An Edition of the Ledger of Sir Francis Chantrey R.A., at the Royal Academy, 1809-1841. The Volume of the Walpole Society, Vol. 56 (1991-1992), p. 166; Ingrid Roscoe, A Biographical Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2009), p. 249, no. 429; Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 (The Abbey Library, London, New Revised Edition), p. 94
5 Peter Turnerelli (Belfast, 1774-1839, London) Portrait bust of Queen Caroline (1768–1821), Consort of King George IV of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland White marble Signed and dated 1821 to the reverse: P.Turnerelli Sculp.t 1821 Height: 81 cm. / 32 ins incl. socle PROVENANCE:
Almost certainly a commission from Queen Caroline, circa 1820-21; Private collection, England LITERATURE:
Ingrid Roscoe, A Biographical Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851, (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 2009), p. 1292, no. 87 This fine and apparently unique marble portrait of Queen Caroline was carved by Peter Turnerelli, a sculptor of Irish-Italian descent and one of the most notable British portrait sculptors of the early nineteenth century, who spent several years as Sculptor-in-Ordinary to the Royal family. Turnerelli’s busts for the Royal family included the famous 1809 ‘Jubilee bust’ of George III, of which over eighty copies in marble were ordered. Queen Caroline was Consort of King George IV and daughter of the Duke of BrunswickLüneburg. She married George IV (at that time the Prince of Wales) in 1795, but after the birth in 1796 of their only child, Princess Charlotte, the couple separated. During the Prince’s regency of 1811-20 for his insane father, George III, Caroline lived mainly in Italy. After his accession to the throne in 1820, the new King urged Caroline to remain on the Continent, but she refused and returned to England in June of that year. Caroline, through her support for political reform, had become a popular figure for the growing Radical movement in England. The public thought of her as a “wronged” woman and riots broke out in support of her upon her return to England. Despite this, Caroline was not invited to George IV’s coronation on 19th July 1821 and, upon trying to enter Westminster Abbey, she was locked out of the ceremony by the guards. The stress she likely suffered from this rejection led to her becoming unwell, and she died only three weeks later, on the 7th August, 1821. The present bust of Caroline was carved in 1821, perhaps to celebrate Caroline’s return to England that year and what she hoped would be her new position as Queen Consort. The fact that Turnerelli also had a close professional relationship with Caroline, having taught modelling to her daughter Charlotte, whose portrait by Turnerelli (1816, National Portrait Gallery, London)
shares close stylistic and physiognomic similarities to our bust of her mother, indicates that this bust was in all likelihood a commission from the Queen herself. In this very rare bust of Caroline, the elaborate carving of the curls of hair, the uncut eyes and the attic-ionic carved plate above the socle typify the Neoclassical style of the early nineteenth century, made famous across Europe by Antonio Canova’s high-quality productions in Rome. When visiting England, in fact, Canova praised Turnerelli’s bust of Henry Grattan (1812, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin) as the best modern bust he had seen in England. This suggests that the two may have become acquainted during Turnerelli’s brief period in Rome after 1799, when the young Irishman may have spent some time working in Canova’s studio. Indeed, the fine finishing and attention-to-detail evident in the crisp carving of the curls and loops of hair are clearly influenced by Canova’s work, indicating the pedigree of this fine and large-scale portrait of one of the most controversial yet popular Queens of England.
6 Emil Wolff (Berlin, 1802-1879, Rome) Portrait bust of Albert, Prince Consort, of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1819-1861) Executed in Rome in 1842 Inscribed on the reverse: E. WOLFF. FC. / ROMÆ. 1842. White marble Height: 74.5 cm. / 29 ¼ ins incl. socle PROVENANCE:
Almost certainly commissioned by Prince Albert, 1841-42; Private collection, England; With Christopher Wood, London, 1988; Private collection, UK LITERATURE:
Francesco Leone. A Rediscovered Marble Bust of Prince Albert by Emil Wolff (Rome, 2012), pp. 5-7; Dietmar Vogel. Der Deutsch-Römer Emil Wolff 1802-1879 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1995), pp. 122-23; Christopher Wood Gallery, An Exhibition of Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Works of Art, exh. cat., London, 22 Nov to 2 Dec 1988 [illustrated]
This portrait bust of Prince Albert was carved in Rome by the German Neoclassical sculptor, Emil Wolff. It depicts the handsome young Prince in heroic fashion, wearing antique-style armour adorned with the symbols of Victory and St. George. It is one of only three known busts of this model, all of which were probably direct commissions from Prince Albert, based on a life model completed by Wolff at Windsor Castle in the summer of 1841. The other two busts, one of which is in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, the other formerly with the Royal Patriotic Fund, are both based on the same model as the present version, with the only minor compositional difference being the rendering of the pattern in the upper border of the breastplate. Wolff also carved two earlier, less elaborate busts of Albert, one of which now resides in the Royal Collection at Kensington Palace, the other being in the Louvre, both of which were carved in Rome when Albert was a young bachelor on his Grand Tour of Italy. This repeated patronage suggests that Wolff, a fellow German, had become Albert’s preferred portrait sculptor. Following the present bust, Wolff executed two large marble statues of the Prince Consort in 1844 and 1846, again based on the same 1841 model. As Queen Victoria herself stated, she regarded this second, more ornate Neoclassical composition as “an improvement” on the plainer bust of 1839. Indeed, the repeated re-use of the 1841 model suggests that the Queen was much enamoured with this heroic image of Albert.
Prince Albert was born in Saxony in 1819 and married Queen Victoria in February of 1840. The present portrait of the Prince was modelled in 1841, only a year after he became the Consort and shortly after the Regency Act of 1840 was passed, which designated Albert as Regent in the case of Victoria’s early death. That this bust was intended to convey Albert’s newly-instituted and important ceremonial role in British politics, is apparent in the attributes carved in relief on his cuirass. The two winged Victories from Graeco-Roman mythology on the shoulder plates, both holding palm leaves and the wreath of glory in each of their hands, suggest Albert’s classical erudition and recall depictions of emperors from Imperial Rome. The carving of St George Slaying the Dragon on the centre of the breastplate, meanwhile, attests to Albert’s Christian faith and, in its depiction of England’s patron saint, shows his allegiance to the British Crown. Emil Wolff was the most important German sculptor working in Rome in the first half of the nineteenth century. Following his training in Berlin at the Kunstakademie, where he won several prizes, Wolff moved to Rome in 1822 as a young man and remained in the Eternal City until his death in 1879. In Rome, Wolff was immediately accepted as an assistant in the studio of that other famous Neoclassical sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770-1844). Wolff soon began modelling his own works based on mythological themes, which formed the bulk of his output in the 1830s and 1840s, his most prolific period. He also produced a number of portraits both of living sitters as well as historical figures, the latter of which were made for the German Archaeological Institute in Rome. As well as Prince Albert, Wolff ’s patrons included the King and Crown Prince of Prussia and several Russian and English clients. As a result, today his works reside in some of the most important museums and collections in Europe and Russia.
7 John Edward Jones (Dublin, 1806-1862) Portrait bust of Queen Victoria (1819-1901, reigned 1837-1901) Executed in London in 1854 Signed and dated: J. E. JONES. Sc. / LONDON. 1854. White marble Height: 76 cm. / 30 ins incl. socle PROVENANCE:
Commissioned by Queen Victoria and gifted by her in 1854 to William Dargan, Dublin; With Christopher Wood, London, 1988; Private collection, UK LITERATURE:
Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 (The Abbey Library, London, New Revised Edition), p. 221; Ingrid Roscoe, A Biographical Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2009), p. 674, no. 99
This fine portrait bust by the Anglo-Irish sculptor, John Edward Jones, shows a stately Queen Victoria relatively early in her reign. In terms of composition, it recalls Sir Francis Chantrey’s famous portrait of the young Victoria (1838-41, Royal Collection), which depicts the slightly younger Queen in similar posture and clothing, also wearing a tiara and facing to dexter. Jones’s portrait, however, presents a slightly more mature Victoria than Chantrey’s. Furthermore, in the present bust the attention-to-detail evident in the carving of the fur of the Queen’s ermine shawl and the foliate patterns on her undergarment, as well as the jewels embellishing her tiara, convey a greater concern for decoration and pomp compared to Chantrey’s more restrained Neoclassical style. The present work is almost certainly the version in marble made for the Queen and exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin in 1854, as cited by Roscoe (op. cit.). It was shown alongside two other marble busts by Jones, one of her husband, Prince Albert and another of William Dargan (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin), who was an important Irish engineer and founder of the Royal Dublin Society. All three busts of Victoria, Albert and Dargan were carved by Jones in 1854 and were, therefore, probably part of the same commission received from the Queen. The three busts were gifted by Victoria in 1854 to Dargan, who had organised the Great Dublin Exhibition in May 1853, which the Queen had attended. Indeed, Dargan was personally visited by Victoria and Albert later that year, when the Queen offered him a baronetcy, which he declined. The present bust by Jones must have resulted from sittings with the Queen (probably at Windsor) in late 1853 or early 1854. Presumably, the bust was gifted by Victoria to Dargan in
order to convey her appreciation for his work organising the Dublin Exhibition in the previous year, as well as to try to persuade this influential Irishman to accept her offer of a title. Indeed, British rule in Ireland was a particularly thorny issue at this time, following the recent Great Famine in Ireland in the 1840s, which the Queen had personally taken up as a charitable cause (making a large donation of £2,000). It is likely that the Queen’s choice of John Edward Jones, an Irish sculptor working in London at the time, was also intentional, given Dargan’s patriotism. The sculptor, John Edward Jones, was born in Dublin in 1806 and trained as a civil engineer in Ireland, before moving to London. By 1840 he had abandoned engineering for sculpture, at which he soon excelled, exhibiting annually in London at the Royal Academy between 1842-62 and in Ireland at the Royal Hibernian Academy from 1847-54. Although he carved a number of statues and one public monument, his main concern was portrait busts, of which Roscoe records some 136 works in a relatively short career of just over twenty years. The present rare and early portrait of Queen Victoria is one of the most important works by this gifted Anglo-Irish sculptor.
8 John Gibson (Conway, 1790-1866, Rome) Portrait bust of a Nobleman, presumed to be Lord Frederick John Monson, 5th Baron Monson of Burton, Lincolnshire, England Executed circa 1829 Signed with inscription on reverse: I GIBSON FT ROMAE White marble Height: 72 cm. / 28 ½ ins incl. socle PROVENANCE:
Presumed to be the bust of Lord Monson formerly at Gatton Park, Surrey LITERATURE:
John Hussey, John Gibson R.A.: The World of the Master Sculptors (Birkenhead: Countyvise, 2012), p. 155; Ingrid Roscoe, A Biographical Dictionary of British Sculptors 1660-1851 (Yale University Press, New Haven, 2009), p. 527, no. 88
John Gibson was one of the foremost Neoclassical sculptors of the nineteenth century. The present signed portrait by Gibson is presumed to depict Frederick John Monson, 5th Baron Monson of Burton, Lincolnshire. It was probably carved in 1829 in Gibson’s studio in Rome, since a letter written by Gibson in that year mentions a bust being executed for Lord Monson (see Roscoe, op. cit.). In this bust Gibson contrasts the sitter’s powerful facial features with the typically English restraint of his calm, Stoic expression. The sharp, curling strands of hair are carved in a manner reminiscent of classical Greek examples (such as Polykleitos’s Doryphorus), which had a particularly strong influence on the work of Gibson, who aspired to the ideal of classical Greek form and bodily perfection. John Gibson was born near Conway, Wales in 1790 and moved to Liverpool when he was nine years old, where he was apprenticed to the statuary sculptor, F. A. Legé. By 1816 Gibson had work accepted by the Royal Academy and in the following year he left Liverpool to work in London. Gibson, however, had set his heart on Italy; in 1817 he arrived in Rome, where he became closely acquainted with Antonio Canova (1757-1822), who gave him instruction and the use of his studio. From Rome, Gibson built up an international clientele for his works in marble and his studio was a place of interest for wealthy tourists on the Grand Tour. It was not until 1844 that Gibson returned to England, having been commanded by Queen Victoria to execute her statue. After a second visit to England for another Royal commission in 1850, Gibson returned to Rome, working there until his death in 1866. We are grateful to the present Lord Monson for his assistance in the identification of the sitter.
9 James Ross, Snr (English, c.1700-1750) A Meet in the West of England Circa 1730 Oil on canvas, signed ‘J. Ross’ lower left Framed in a Lely-pattern gilt carved frame with entwined cinquefoil decoration, c. 1700 Dimensions: 125 x 102 cm. / 49 ¼ x 40 ins, incl. frame: 139.5 x 120 cm. / 55 x 47 ins PROVENANCE:
Private collection, England
James Ross was one of a small group of pioneering English artists who specialised in sporting paintings, along with John Wootton (c.1682-1765), Peter Tillemans (1684-1734) and James Seymour (c.1702-1752). This signed painting by Ross shows a mixed local hunting party and their dogs meeting beside a manor house, with the ruins of an ancient castle beside it. In the centre, a white horse is rearing up dramatically, presumably provoked by one of the dogs, which is being restrained to a lady rider’s right by a gentleman on foot. The party is accompanied by a large pack of hunting dogs, some of which are drinking at the well on the left, whilst a woman on foot is bringing a bowl and flask to the company. In the background is a large, broad and green river valley with high hills in the distance; a typical English landscape, yet painted in a classical Italianate manner. According to Sally Mitchell (op. cit.), James Ross and his family probably came from the Gloucestershire or Worcestershire area of England. Indeed, the present painting’s panorama of a large river, wide valley and high rolling hills in the distance does resemble the Severn or Wye Valleys, which were local to the artist’s home. Ross did paint known views of this area, for example in his set of four pictures of The Duke of Beaufort’s Hunt, each signed and variously dated 172933 (Christie’s, London, 15th November 1996, lot 47, hammer £165,000). Ross’s other notable paintings include The Trotman Family Hunting in Oxfordshire and The Shuckbrough Family Hunting in Warwickshire. Large signed paintings by Ross, such as the present example, rarely come to market and, as such, are sought-after examples of early English sporting art. RELATED LITERATURE:
Stephen Deuchar, Sporting Art in 18th Century England (New Haven, 1988, p. 68, fig. 51), which shows Racing at Newmarket, The Finish; Sally Mitchell, The Dictionary of British Equestrian Artists, 1985, p. 366; Mary-Anne Wingfield, A Dictionary of Sporting Artists 1650-1990 (Antique Collectors Club, 1992)
10 André Bouys (Hyères, 1656-1740, Paris), Attributed to Still Life with Cherries Oil on canvas, in a period gilt-wood frame Dimensions: 80.5 x 97.2 cm. / 31 ½ x 38 ¼ ins, incl. frame: 109 x 127 cm. / 43 x 50 ins PROVENANCE:
Private collection, France
This large and finely-detailed still life painting shows a neatly prepared table of fresh, white linen and sparkling kitchenware. On the table are placed carefully arranged bowls of fruit (cherries, pears and raspberries), bread, a jug of water, a glass of red wine, a bottle of wine cooling in a bucket, and two other pots. The painting is attributed to André Bouys, a French painter of the late Baroque, on the basis of its similarity in composition and style to other still lifes by the artist. André Bouys was born in Hyères in southern France in 1656. He was a pupil of François de Troy in Paris, where he established his reputation as one of the foremost portraitists of his generation, becoming a member of the French Academy in 1688. His membership to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in 1688 was secured on the basis of two portraits of his contemporaries, the artist Charles de la Fosse (1640-1716) and the sculptor Etienne le Hongre (1628-1690), both of which are now housed in the Musée de Versailles (Inv. nos MV3582 & MV3636). Although his principal occupation was as a portraitist, Bouys also executed genre scenes and still life paintings, of which the present painting is a good example. RELATED LITERATURE:
Michel Faré and Fabrice Faré, La Vie Silencieuse en France: La Nature Morte au XVIIIe Siècle, Fribourg, 1976, pp. 43-48; Robert Edmund Graves, Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, 3 Vols (London: George Bell & Sons), Vol. 1 (A-K), p. 173
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