Christie’s Important British and Irish Art Sale

Two major works by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896), Sleeping and Early Days, capture the innocence of childhood. Womanhood is celebrated by another Victorian artist, John William Waterhouse (1849-1917) in two striking portraits of Cleopatra and Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may. Another fine work is The Symbol by Sir Frank Dicksee (1853-1928), which is characteristic of the artist’s lush style exemplified in the glorious 15th-century Florentine costumes. Three significant landscape watercolors and a stunning work by James Jacques Joseph Tissot are amongst the highlights of Christie’s Important British and Irish Art evening sale on 11 June 2003. The auction will offer a range of works depicting various themes and subjects by important and influential British artists including Palmer, Turner, Girtin, Millais, Leighton and many more.

One of three important landscape watercolors to be offered, The Golden Valley by Samuel Palmer (estimate: £500,000-800,000) is beautifully executed and one of the finest examples of the visionary landscapes Palmer painted towards the end of the Shoreham period of his early career. Works from this period rarely appear on the market as virtually all examples are now housed in museum collections. Representing an idyllic and timeless vision of the English countryside, the watercolor has been identified as the view from Poll Hill, near Shoreham, and is painted from a raised viewpoint.

It is possibly the earliest and most accomplished of three related watercolors painted by Palmer in the early 1830s; the other two are already in the Yale Center for British Art in Connecticut, America.

Also featured is the detailed landscape watercolor Lake Albano, circa 1828 (estimate: £100,000- 150,000) by Joseph Mallord William Turner depicting a tranquil view looking down over the lake with the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo represented in the distance. The beautiful Mynnydd Mawr, North Wales, 1799 (estimate: £80,000-120,000) by Thomas Girtin painted looking west from the road between Beddgelert and Caernarvon completes a triumvirate of important watercolors. The precise location of the view remained unknown for many years and was often mistaken for Yorkshire or the Lake District. The work was painted during one of his many sketching tours around England and is a finely executed landscape; a wonderful example of the naturalistic work he produced during this time.

The elegant La Cheminee, circa 1869, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (estimate: £800,000-1,200,000), is part of his series of pictures which featured elegant ladies in 18th century costume of the French Directoire period. This painting is a tour-de-force, showing Tissot at the peak of his career. Highly regarded for his technical brilliance, precise draughtsmanship and high finish, Tissot artfully depicts the sumptuous fabrics of the model’s dress, the rich marbles of the fireplace and the deep hues of the oriental carpet. It is likely that the interior depicted is that of his fashionable Parisian home on Avenue de l’Imperatrice, where he lived after 1868.

The hustle and bustle of Victoria Station is recorded in the watercolor, The Departure Platform,

Victoria Station, (estimate: £200,000-300,000) also by James Jacques Joseph Tissot. Painted in the early 1880s, the picture is a superb example of one of the many scenes of travel and departure which Tissot produced during his later years in London. His mistress, Kathleen Kelly Newton, is the model for the young woman who stands on the platform, veiled and wearing a heavy travel coat, waiting for her companion as he hails a hansom cab.

Two beautiful works by Sir John Everett Millais which capture the innocence of childhood are

further sale highlights. Sleeping painted in 1865-66 by Millais (estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000) is an intensely personal portrait of his youngest daughter, Alice Sophia Caroline, always known in the family as Carrie. Painted in exquisite detail, the picture depicts Carrie fast asleep with the Millais family maid, Berthe, sewing beside the bed, waiting for her to wake up. Early Days (estimate: £200,000-300,000) is a portrait of the painter’s youngest daughter painted in 1873. Carrie, who would have been around 11 years old, is pictured sitting outside on the ground holding a black cat and staring directly at the viewer. A delightful early example of Millais’s 18th century costume paintings, this picture has been in a private family collection since it was given to the present owner over 60 years ago.

Works by other important and influential British artists also featured in the sale include Sir Frank Dicksee’s The Symbol, 1881 (estimate: £300,000-500,000). Offered from a private collection, this impressive painting illustrates a man and woman, possibly newly weds, leading a procession and typifies Dicksee’s lush style, exemplified in the detailed and glorious costumes of the characters.

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Published in: on May 28, 2003 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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