• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7635

    British Art on Paper

    10 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 37

    Edward Duncan, R.W.S. (1803-1882)

    Moonlight: ships that pass in the night

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Edward Duncan, R.W.S. (1803-1882)
    Moonlight: ships that pass in the night
    signed and dated 'E. Duncan/1859' (lower right) and with inscription '"Moonlight" by Edward Duncan.' (on the backboard)
    pencil and watercolour with gum arabic
    7¾ x 19¼ in. (20 x 49 cm.)


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    Edward Duncan is most famous for his maritime views, in which he specialised as the result of an early career as an engraver of shipping scenes. His wife, Bertha, was also the daughter of the maritime painter William Huggins (1820-1884), whose pictures Duncan had engraved. By the date of its exhibition in 1920, this watercolour had come to be known as 'Ships that pass in the night', probably an allusion to the poem 'The Theologian's Tale: Elizabeth', from Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882):

    Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing;
    Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
    So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another,
    Only a look and a voice; then darkness again and a silence.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    with Agnew's, London.
    John Edmondson, Esq.


    Exhibited

    Blackburn, Corporation Art Gallery, Exhibition of Pictures, April, 1920, no. 5.
    Burnley, Town Hall Art Gallery, Exhibition of Pictures, June - September, 1922, no. 98.