Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Myles Birket Foster - The Church of San Simone and San Judi, Venice: The arrival of a train

Price Realized £22,500

signed with monogram (lower left and lower right) and with inscription 'S. Simone i S. Guida Apostoli. (The Arrival of a Train)' (lower centre, overmounted)
pencil and watercolour heightened with touches of bodycolour, on paper
8¾ x 11 7/8 in. (22.3 x 30.2 cm.)

Commissioned from the artist by Charles Seeley, M.P. and by descent in the family.

Between 1871 and 1877 Birket Foster executed fifty watercolours of Venice for Charles Seely, a wealthy corn-merchant and M.P. for Lincoln, in which he captured diverse views of the vibrant and picturesque city. Seely had viewed Birket Foster's work at Agnew's and offered the artist the impresive sum of £5,000, the largest commission Birket Foster ever received. According to J. Reynolds the collection was passed through the family from father to son until it was dispersed soon after 1928 with only two watercolours remaining in the family (see J. Reynolds, Birket Foster, Frome and London, 1984, pp. 16-7).

A large-scale watercolour by Birket Foster of A market day on the Giudecca, Venice was sold in these Rooms, 10 June 1999, lot 32 for £69,700, the world record for a watercolour of Venice by the artist.


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