Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sidney Harold Meteyard - Pelleas and Melisande

signed and dated l.l.: METEYARD/1913
watercolour and gouache
38 by 98cm., 15 by 38.5in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 25,000 GBP

Royal Academy, 1913, no.1169

The tale of Pelleas and Melisande is told in Claude Debussey's opera, which premiered in Paris in 1903. Meteyard's painting, exhibited ten years later, depicts a scene from act II in which the beautiful Melisande is at the window of a
tower in her palace. Night is drawing in and she has been brushing her long hair and gazing out over the mythical land of Allemonde. Her tresses have fallen down and brushed against her husband Golaud's brother Pelleas as he approached the tower. Pressing them to his lips he kisses the golden hair. The themes of romance and ultimate tragedy are typical of the subjects chosen by the later Pre-Raphaelite followers of whom Meteyard is one of the finest. The present picture is similar in subject to another depiction of adulterous love, Tristram and Iseult of 1907
and was painted in the same year as the artist's most famous painting I am Half Sick of Shadows (private collections).

Meteyard was a leading member of the Birmingham Group, a coterie of artists whose work was greatly influenced by Edward Burne-Jones, who like Meteyard and his associates, was born in Birmingham. He was a prolific designer of stained glass, a talented book illustrator, a contributor to the murals in Birmingham Town Hall and a highly accomplished artist whose paintings have a whimsical intensity.

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