Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Thomas Cooper Gotch - The cabin, Lamorna

signed 'T. C. Gotch' (lower left) 
oil on canvas 
12 x 18 in. (30.5 x 45.7 cm.) 

Nothing Like going out of Town if you want to sleep

Portrait of Holman Hunt, either William or Edward? 1851

There is debate over whether this portrait is of William Holman Hunt, the Pre-Raphaelite painter, or his brother, (?) Edward. A note on the back, in William Michael Rossetti's handwriting, says, 'I think this was W. Holman Hunt's brother, done c.1851.'

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Woman Holding a Dog

pencil and wash
30.5 by 25.5cm., 12 by 10in.
ESTIMATE 15,000-20,000 GBP

up for sale shortly at Sotheby's

‘Waugh sympathised with Rossetti, but he also admired Rossetti’s integrity in forming the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, with an aesthetic creed independent of convention. Waugh also admired Rossetti’s perseverance once the movement had drawn the attention of contemptuous critics. Rossetti’s example showed that there was virtue, perhaps even reward, in following one’s own artistic instincts.’ John Howard Wilson, Evelyn Waugh, A Literary Biography, 1924-1966 , 2001, p.32.

Woman Holding a Dog has a distinguished and interesting provenance. It was owned by the Bournemouth solicitor Kerrison Preston and the novelist Evelyn Waugh, two collectors who held a sustained interest in Pre-Raphaelite painting in the twentieth century when the popularity of Victorian art was at its lowest ebb. Preston reproduced the drawing in his book Blake and Rossetti in 1944. The second owner was Waugh, who acquired Victorian paintings assiduously and was related by marriage to William Holman Hunt.

There has been some speculation regarding the model for this drawing. Modern experts have suggested that it depicts Agnes 'Aggie' Manetti, a Scotswoman who posed in a professional capacity for Rossetti for several paintings and drawings in the early 1860s. Rossetti felt that she had a profile that had some similarity to Napoleon and the model for this drawing has similar strong aqualine features to Aggie. It is recorded in George Price Boyce’s diary that she was sitting to Rossetti in October 1862. However Preston felt that the identity of the sitter was Fanny Cornforth.

The earthy and buxom Cornforth was almost certainly Rossetti’s mistress even before his marriage to Lizzie Siddal in May 1860. She became his housekeeper when, following Lizzie’s death in February 1862, he settled at Cheyne Walk in Chelsea. She was the model for several important pictures from the 1860s, including The Blue Bower, Fair Rosamund and Lady Lilith and for numerous drawings and sketches.
The drawing dates from the early 1860s and the tender way the woman caresses the ears of the lap-dog suggests that the model was one that the artist knew well enough to depict so intimately. This perhaps points towards Preston being correct about the identity of the sitter. Although Rossetti was well-known as a lover of animals, this is the only known picture by him in which a model is shown with a dog.


signed JA Grimshaw and dated 1864 (lower right); inscribed and signed on an old label
attached to the reverse: Elaine/ by A Grimshaw Woil on canvas
18 by 24 in.
45 by 61cm
ESTIMATE 40,000-60,000 USD
Lot Sold: 35,000 USD

Elaine the fair,
Elaine the loveable,
Elaine, the lily maid of Astolat.
Then rose the dumb old servitor, and the dead
Steer'd by the dumb went upward with the flood
In her right hand the lily, in her left The letter
all her bright hair streaming down-
. . . and that clear-featured face
Was lovely, for she did not seem as dead
But fast asleep, and lay as tho' she smiled.

Painted in 1864 Elaine was almost certainly the first of Grimshaw's depictions of the Lily Maid of Astolat of Tennyson's idylls of the King and is datable to the year after another Tennyson subject, Guinevere (Christie's, London, March 26, 1987, lot 99). Dressed in white and lying on her bier on the deck of the boat that will convey her to her death, Elaine is holding a lily in her hand and with her hair laid out around her on the pillow. The background is a romantic city-scape of Gothic turrets and minarets against a beautiful evening sky which is in keeping with the mood of the subject. The story of Elaine's last voyage fascinated Grimshaw for many years and in the 1870s he painted several depictions of Elaine, and the similar subject of the Lady of Shallot, being steered downstream by hooded figures.

Grimshaw named his daughter Elaine (1877-1970), whilst three of his other children were all named after characters from Idylls of the King (Enid, Lancelot, Arthur).
In 1862 the young Grimshaw was invited to exhibit at the Philosophical Hall in Leeds. Among the pictures in the exhibition was Dante Gabriel Rossetti's St George and the Princess Sabra lent by a local collector, Miss Ellen Heaton.

This picture, and probably others like it by Rossetti, clearly influenced Elaine and Guinevere, sharing the same intense colour and Medievalism.

Millais Transcription - Stephanie Pina

What good work

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Frederigo Cornaro's house in Venice, now Ca'Loredan

St Mark's 1877

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Marginal sketches to 'The Poetry of the Period'

Marginal sketches to 'The Poetry of the Period', from an album of 60 caricature drawings; a discussion of the poems of Matthew Arnold and William Morris with caricature sketches of the two, mainly of Morris as an angel or cherub Graphite

The number of sketches that Ned did is actually rather overwhelming, but they show a fascinating side. Many of the sketchbooks were donated to the British Museum by May Morris in about 1939.

Rare letter from Ned to William

Grace before Meat and Disgrace after Meat, c. 1870

William Morris cooking in Iceland, inspired by his trip of 1871.

Kelmscott cover

Rebinding the Kelmscott Chaucer

The Flowers of William Morris

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ned being taught to dance by Margaret

Another brilliant sketch of Ned being taught to dance by Margaret in the 1880's. Its not sure if this is a fantasy or a real dance that little Kate's mother proposed in London.

William Morris compared to a teddy bear, probably 1880's

1880's, Morris can't get his shoes off

Ellen Terry Asleep

The artist's young wife, the actress Ellen Terry, who was 30 years his junior – having been introduced by mutual friend Tom Taylor, they married on 20 February 1864 just seven days short of her 17th birthday. When she eloped with another man after less than a year of marriage, Watts was obliged to divorce her.


Bottle, 1888-98

Bottle, 1888-98
William de Morgan (1839-1917)
© Birmingham Museums & Art Gallery

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Laboratory 1849

An illustration to Browning's poem 'The Laboratory', set in the eighteenth-century, this is Rossetti's first work in watercolour. An alchemist seated in his labortaory accepts jewellery from a woman in payment for poison to destroy her rival. The painting illustrates the lines 'In this devil's smithy Where is the poison to poison her prithee?''.

The Raven - Angel Footfalls 1847

An illustration for Edgar Allen Poe's poem 'The Raven' (1845).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Whitelands Cross

commissioned by John Ruskin for the May Queen festival at Whitelands College in Chelsea

Design for shoes

designed for Frances Horner

Heavenly Paradise

for the Kelmscott edition of The Golden Legend
borders by William Morris

Self portrait at 55; 1874

Rose la Touche by Ruskin

Watercolour c. 1862

Effie in 1850 by Ruskin

Christ Church Cathedral from Tom Quad

John Ruskin aged three and a half

by James Northcote

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Study of a Tree Trunk and Roots / Two studies of Tree Trunks

This sheet has studies of trees on both sides. On one side is a detailed study of a tree trunk and roots possibly for the small painting 'The Brent at Hendon' (1854-55, Tate London) although none of the trees in the work match this one exactly. The left tree on the reverse may be the earliest study on the sheet and relate to the cartoon 'Oure Ladye of Saturday Night' (1846, Tate, London).LM

Coast Scene near Dunbar 1847

Ruskin executed this watercolour on a visit to Dunbar. He stayed in the town for a few days before visiting William Macdonald, a young family friend, in Pertshire. Ruskin wrote of making this study in his diary noting that he had 'had a happy day, drawing by the seashore' (Diary, 21 August, 1847). The artist worked from close observation. His immediate interest was to record, rather than compose a picture. This can be seen in the detailed way he has drawn the rocks, the seaweed and the movement of the water.

Friday, February 15, 2013



Lost half of the Cat

Dear Katie

i have lost my half of the poor cat.

Margaret is very angry with me.

she has put me in a corner, but it isn't the corner where I lost my half.