• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7424

    20th Century British Art

    16 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 97

    Lucian Freud, O.M. (b. 1922)


    Price Realised  


    Lucian Freud, O.M. (b. 1922)
    ink, unframed
    5¾ x 3¾ in. (15 x 10 cm.)
    This work will be sold with a book of poetry The Glass Tower by Nicholas Moore, with illustrations by Lucian Freud. There is an original pencil drawing of a bird by the artist on the front free endpaper. (2)

    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

    'Freud found even greater scope for his imagination in the illustrations and decorations which he was commissioned to make for Nicholas Moore's book of poems The Glass Tower, published in 1944. The title page, designed by Freud, shows a sinister head, half-bird, half-human, staring from a window of an encrusted castle or tower. Freud's idiosyncratic lettering here and on the dustjacket and spine develops the spiky forms of Landscape with Birds, 1940 (private collection), in that the letters are given claws, feathers and beaks, not to mention fishbones, fishtails and teeth. The poems themselves are complimented by Freud's beautifully spare line drawings of, among other things, sea shells, seabirds (including a gull based on Thomas Bewick's Great Blacked-Back Gull), dead monkeys, an eagle, and a hybrid head of a zebra and a unicorn. The result is not unlike a medieval bestiary, though without the latter's moral import. The cover of the book is embellished with a drawing of a palm tree that Freud had brought from a nursery garden. The same plant reappears in The Painter's Room, 1944 (private collection) and, more menacingly, in Interior in Paddington, 1951 (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) The Glass Tower was published by the magazine Poetry London, one of whose covers Freud had decorated with a drawing of a lyre bird (the magazine's symbol)' (see R. Calvocoressi, exhibition catalogue, Early Works Lucian Freud, Edinburgh, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 1997, p. 14).

    Fern is illustrated on page 89 of the book.

    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.
    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    A gift from the artist to the present owner's mother, and by descent.