Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Harold Speed - Autumn: study for a lunette

Price Realized £2,390

pencil and watercolour with bodycolour, painted arch
17½ x 32¼ in. (44.5 x 82 cm.)

Speed studied in Italy before returning to England in 1895, when he entered the Royal Academy's competition for the best design for a wall decoration in a public building. The Studio, 1899, described the present watercolour as 'very well imagined and very capably executed ... In this design he turned happily to account the inspirations derived from his travel abroad, and made evident enough the influence which the glowing colour and rich variety of form characteristic of Southern Europe had exercised over him.' (op.cit., p. 159). He was afterwards commissioned to execute the lunette in spirit fresco on the walls of the Royal Academy's refreshment room. Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale (1872-1945) also executed a prize-winning lunette design Spring in December 1897 and Sir William Ernest Reynolds-Stephens (1862-1943) executed Summer.

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