• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7635

    British Art on Paper

    10 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 69

    Helen Allingham, R.W.S. (1848-1926)

    Study of Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) reading in his garden

    Price Realised  


    Helen Allingham, R.W.S. (1848-1926)
    Study of Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) reading in his garden
    watercolour with gum arabic heightened with bodycolour
    3 x 3 in. (7.6 x 7.6 cm)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), the Scottish philosopher and historian, was a powerful presence in the early days of Helen Allingham's marriage to her husband William. William was a great admirer of Carlyle's, to the extent that he introduced Helen to Carlyle before their wedding, so that she could be 'vetted'. At the beginning of their marriage it appears that they visited Carlyle every day, since they lived near Cheyne Row where he lived and worked. Helen made numerous sketches of Carlyle, particularly in the later stages of his life, winning him over despite his initial grumbling, and when he saw the finished watercolours that resulted from her sketches, such as the present work, he conceded that he was impressed by her portraiture. The association between the Allinghams and Carlyle continued until the latter's death in 1881, after which the Allinghams moved from Chelsea to Surrey.

    We are grateful to Annabel Watts for her help in preparing this catalogue entry.

    For a view of the Carlyle statue in Chelsea, please see lot 68.

    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.


    The artist and by descent until Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 26 February 1985, lot 143.

    Pre-Lot Text