• Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen auction at Christies

    Sale 7822

    Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 398

    Hubert Robert (Paris 1733-1808)

    La fileuse: Capriccio with the Pyramid of Cestius, a statue of Hercules, Roman altars, sarcophagi and amphorae, a woman spinning and a child

    Estimate

    Hubert Robert (Paris 1733-1808)
    La fileuse: Capriccio with the Pyramid of Cestius, a statue of Hercules, Roman altars, sarcophagi and amphorae, a woman spinning and a child
    signed, located and dated 'DESSINE A STE PELAGIE PAR H ROBER... L'AN DEUSIE. DE LA REPUBLIC' (on the slab, lower right)
    black chalk, pen and brown ink, watercolour, on a feigned mount with a gold framing line
    14 5/8 x 9 5/8 in. (37.1 x 24.5 cm.) (drawing); 18 x 12¾ in. (45.7 x 32.3 cm.) (sheet)


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    Hubert Robert executed this capriccio of ruins and statues while being held at the Parisian jail of Sainte-Pélagie. He had been arrested on the charge of having failed to renew his civilian's card, but it is more likely that he was imprisoned on political grounds. Sainte-Pélagie was the first prison at which he was held, from his arrest on 29 October 1793, until his transferral to the prison of Saint-Lazare on 30 January 1794. Other drawings executed at this date include a study of two prisoners at Sainte-Pélagie playing cards (V. Carlson, Hubert Robert, Drawings and Watercolours, Washington, 1978, no. 58). Robert was eventually released in July 1794, after the fall of Robespierre.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 2 July 1991, lot 337, where acquired by the present owner.