Monday, May 30, 2011

Francis Hetling’s Victorian Waifs fakes

Arthur Grimshaw - Dock Scene, Glasgow

signed and dated l.l.: Arthur E. Grimshaw. 1895
oil on canvas
28 by 46cm.; 11 by 18in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 16,250 GBP

John Atkinson Grimshaw - Hull Docks at Night

signed l.r.: Atkinson Grimshaw
oil on canvas
61 by 92cm., 24 by 36in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 241,250 GBP

The work of Atkinson Grimshaw is valuable and unique in several respects. He made a great popular success out of that amalgam of Pre-Raphaelite sentiment, nature and industry that dominated the culture of northern England in the later nineteenth century. His work is our only visual equivalent to the great epics of industrial change, the novels of Gaskell and Dickens.' (David Bromfield, Atkinson Grimshaw 1836-1893, exhibition catalogue, 1979-1980, p. 5)

John Atkinson Grimshaw celebrated the age of industry, commerce and conspicuous wealth in a series of paintings in which moonlight and lamplight contrast with one another and skeletal trees or ship's rigging are interchangeable. In the present picture of the docks at Hull with the sailed-barges and steamers, horse-drawn hansoms make their way along the wet cobbled road which reflects the gaslight of the shop windows that face the dock. A young woman and her child are hurrying across the road whilst on the opposite pavement another woman stops to talk to an organ-grinder silhouetted against the glow of a street-lamp. Bromfield has interpreted Grimshaw's port scenes as 'icons of commerce and the city. They are remarkable in that they record the contemporary port's role within Victorian life; they appealed directly to Victorian pride and energy.

They also show that same darkness, a mysterious lack of complete experience of the subject which one associates with large cities and big business, which Dickens recounts so well in Bleak House and Great Expectations and for which Grimshaw's moonlight became a perfect metaphor.' (ibid Bromfield, p. 15). The number of ships-masts visible in the present picture demonstrates how busy Hull's docks were in the late nineteenth century when it was one of the busiest ports in the country. The imposing three-domed building in the present picture was the Dock Offices (it now houses Hull Maritime Museum), the headquarters of the Hull Dock Company in Queen Victoria Square. This magnificent example of Victorian architecture was built in 1871 and was relatively new when it was painted by Grimshaw which demonstrates the modernity of his cityscapes. The monument to the left is that of William Wilberforce, the Yorkshire MP and anti-slavery campaigner. The monument, built in 1834 comprised a ninety foot Doric column upon which stood a twelve foot statue of Wilberforce. It stood for almost a hundred years at the edge of Princes Dock until the 1930s when the dock was closed and the monument was moved. On the left of the
composition, behind the skeletal rigging of the sail ships is the silhouette of St John's Church, now demolished.

Another picture of Princes Docks dated 1882 is in the collection of the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull whilst another version was sold in these rooms (17 December 2009, lot 51).

Richard Ansdell - Gathering the Flock

signed and dated l.r.: R. Ansdell/1870
oil on canvas
79.5 by 203cm., 31¼ by 80in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 79,250 GBP

Thomas Agnew, London by whom sold, Christie's, 16 June 1906, lot 66, bought 'Lister';
Dunecht House, Aberdeenshire

Ansdell was the finest Victorian animal painter after Sir Edwin Landseer but unlike Landseer, who often painted violent melodrama, Ansdell's approach to the depiction of animals was to the more incidental aspects of everyday life. Even before Landseer's death, Ansdell's great talent was heartily recognised by collectors and the critics alike, the Art Journal writing in 1860; 'That picturesquely, and that his productions are among the best of their kind with our school –and indeed, any other –has brought forward, is to pay him and them no higher compliment than is
merited. If we had no Landseer, Ansdell would, unquestionably, occupy the very foremost place in this department
of art' (The Art Journal, 1860, p.223).

The hardy highland shepherd and his loyal border collie, herding flocks to new pasture, is the subject most associated with Ansdell. The wilderness and beauty of the Scottish landscape, combined with his animated study of animals and human figures, make Ansdell's work so immediately engaging. He painted several variants on the same theme of a flock being taken to safer ground or more fertile pasture. The first of this series of pictures Turning the Drove, Aviemore and the Grampians in the Distance (private collection) was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851 and the International Exhibition in Paris in 1855, where it was awarded a gold medal. The second painting in the series Crossing the Moor (Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, Ashton bequest) painted in 1863 and exhibited that year at the British Institution, was described by the Art Journal as 'sheep, heather, dogs and Scotch
shepherd, all vigorous even to violence' (ibid. pg.223). The third painting Crossing the Burn of 1863 (Sotheby's, 27 August 2003, lot 1179) was a variant in the series and in 1866 Ansdell painted another less-animated example. A similar subject of Sheep Gathering, Glen Spey dated 1871 and almost the same size as the present picture (35.5 by 77.5 in.) was in the collection of Josiah Radclyffe until the 1890s and another example with the same title is known (Sotheby's Gleneagles, 31 August 2005, lot 1038).

Joseph Farquharson - When the West with Evening Glows

signed l.l: J.Farquharson
oil on canvas
51 by 77cm., 20 by 30in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 73,250 GBP

When the West with Evening Glows is a version of a painting of the same title exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1910 (Bristol City Art Gallery). Two different compositions with the same title are also known, one depicting a snow
covered country road and a trio of crows was painted in 1901 (Manchester City Art Gallery) and another of a young girl in a winter woodland (Sotheby's, Gleneagles, 30 August 2006, lot 1014). It was not unusual for Farquharson to paint second versions of successful paintings for patrons who had admired pictures that had already been sold.

Archibald Thorburn

[Grey Partridge]

signed and dated l.l.: Archibald Thorburn/ 1899.
watercolour and bodycolour
54 by 74.5cm.; 21¼ by 29½in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 32,450 GBP


signed and dated l.l.: Archibald Thorburn/ Dec.7. 1899.
watercolour and bodycolour
37 by 54.5cm.; 14½ by 21½in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 18,750 GBP

[Red Grouse in Flight]

signed and dated l.l.: Archibald Thorburn/ 1899.
watercolour and bodycolour over pencil
54.5 by 75cm.; 21½ by 29½in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 34,850 GBP

[Goldfinches / Bullfinches]

Quantity: 2
each signed and dated l.l.: A. Thorburn/ 1908
both watercolour with bodycolour
each 27 by 18.5cm., 10½ by 7¼in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 16,250 GBP

[A Brace of Ptarmigan in the Snow]

signed l.r.: Archibald Thorburn
watercolour and bodycolour over pencil
36 by 31cm.; 14¼ by 12in.

Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 15,625 GBP

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Julia Margaret Cameron - La Santa Julia 1867

Albumen Print, mounted on card with Messrs Colnaghi blindstamp and gilt-ruled border, titled and inscribed `From Life Registered Photograph Copy Right Julia Margaret Cameron Freshwater [deleted] Saxonbury April 1867' by the photographer in ink on the mount, original mount overmatted with modern window-mount,


Cameron's endorsement of this photograph as `my favourite picture of all my works' is the caption to the print in the so-called `Herschel Album', given by Cameron to Sir John Herschel in September 1867 and now in the collection of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford.

Saint Julia was the slave martyred for her refusal to give up her faith in exchange for her freedom.

Sylvia Wolf, Julia Margaret Cameron's Women, New Haven and London, 1998, the print in the collection of the N.M.P.F.T. illus. pl. 56.
Julian Cox and Colin Ford, Julia Margaret Cameron The Complete Photographs, London, 2003, cat. no. 302.

Daniel Maclise - Robin Hood

signed and dated l.r.: D.MACLISE 1839/ retouched 1845; bears an inscription on an old label attached to the backing: Maclise's Robin Hood
oil on canvas

Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 336,650 GBP

Maclise's large and magnificent painting Robin Hood comes from the early years of his career in London. He had arrived in the city from his native Ireland in 1827, enrolling at the Royal Academy Schools, where he was regarded as a brilliant student. In the 1830s he exhibited portraits and historical subjects at the Royal Academy, and in 1836 he became an associate member of that body. Robin Hood was shown at the Academy in 1839 and was a resounding critical success. The Art Union enthused: `How delicious is this picture of All-a-Dale; How glorious this of Friar Tuck ... How famous this of the jovial captain of the merry-men all; how admirable are the minor details; how finely has all been imagined; how skillfully all has been executed.' The review continued to enthuse about the work, declaring it: 'An outbreak of genius and unquestionably the leading attraction of the exhibition'. It was the conviviality of the scene which gave most delight, as Fraser's Magazine indicated when observing that `in the large picture everybody grins and shows his whole ratelier; and you look at them, and say ``These people seem all very jolly.''' As a consequence of the warm reception given to the painting, Maclise was elected as a full member of the Academy, his professional prospects clearly in the ascendancy. Shortly afterwards he was a prize winner at the competition for the decoration of the Palace of Westminster, and was commissioned to paint subjects entitled The Spirit of Chivalry and The Spirit of Justice for the House of Lords. From the late 1830s onwards Maclise was regarded as one of the most eminent painters of his generation.

The subject of the painting was given at length in a ballad published in Fraser's Magazine at the time that it was first exhibited at the Royal Academy. Set in a forest glade, King Richard I, just returned from imprisonment in Austria following the Third Crusade, encountered the outlaw Robin Hood and was challenged by him. In the combat between the two the king was victorious. So impressed was Robin Hood by his opponent's skill and strength that he invited the unknown adversary to feast. When all were gathered together Robin Hood raised a goblet to drink the health of the king, still unaware of his presence in their midst. At this point, heartened by this demonstration of the loyalty of Hood and his men, King Richard announced himself.

The king is seated in the foreground, wearing chain mail and the red cross of a crusader, while Robin Hood stands at the centre of the composition. As was described in the catalogue of the 1839 Royal Academy exhibition, Robin `is represented according to old ballads, - ``Yclad in Scarlette Redde, His men in Lyncolne Grene.'' He raises a silver goblet to drink a ```Health unto the Kynge,'' whom as yet he does not know - ``The Kynge himself drank to the Kynge, and round about it went.''' The popular legend of the outlaw Robin Hood tells of his struggles against the corrupt figure of John, younger son of Henry II and usurper of the crown of England during the years that his older brother Richard was away. These owed much to the eighteenth-century literary antiquarian Joseph Ritson, who had gathered together many of the early stories as Robin Hood: a collection of all the ancient poems, songs and ballads now extant relative to that outlaw (1795), and which was illustrated by Thomas Bewick. Percy's Reliques, of 1765, had previously included the story of Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne.

However, as Joanna Banham has made clear in her essay `Images of the Middle Ages in the early nineteenth century' (in the exhibition catalogue William Morris and the Middle Ages, Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, 1984, pp.17-31), the immediate inspiration for both the published ballad and Macl

Julia Margaret Cameron - Leonora illus by Daniel Maclise