Monday, August 30, 2010

Herbert James Draper - Study for 'The Sea Maiden'

Price Realized £15,535

oil on board
6 1/8 x 10 7/8 in. (15.5 x 27.7 cm.)

This is a study for Draper's Royal Academy exhibit of 1894, no. 370, his first public success. When shown the picture was the property of Marcus Huish, then managing director of The Fine Art Society, but it is now in the collection of the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. Preliminary studies for the picture involved numerous trips off the Devon coast and the Isles of Scilly, while the ancient boat was painted from a model of one fashioned from wax.

The subject is taken from a quotation in Algernon Swinburne's poem, Castelard:

A song of drag-nets hauled thwart seas
And plucked up with rent sides and caught therein
A strange haired woman with sad singing lips.

The sea and the nude feature prominently in Draper's work. Perhaps his most celebrated picture is The Lament for Icarus, now in Tate Britain.

No comments: