• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7435

    British Works on Paper

    21 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 58

    Raphael Lamar West (1769-1850)

    Two studies of the angel at the Sepulchre announcing the Resurrection to the three Marys, one with a nude figure study for the angel (verso); and Study for the Entombment

    Price Realised  

    Raphael Lamar West (1769-1850)
    Two studies of the angel at the Sepulchre announcing the Resurrection to the three Marys, one with a nude figure study for the angel (verso); and Study for the Entombment
    black chalk on oatmeal paper, all unframed
    12¾ x 15 in. (32.4 x 38.1 cm.); 9 x 12 5/8 in. (22.8 x 32.1 cm.); and 8½ x 12 in. (21.6 x 30.5 cm.) (3)


    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

    The two studies in the present lot for The Women at the Sepulchre (The Angel at the Tomb of Christ) relate to a series of paintings of this subject executed by Benjamin West throughout his career. The three versions which they resemble most closely are those catalogued by von Erffa and Staley, 373 (circa 1792, in a private collection); 378 (circa 1797, present location unknown); and 375 (1805, Brooklyn Museum, New York, fig. 1). The smaller of the two studies appears to be closer to the circa 1792 version, but in the larger drawing Raphael seems to be experimenting with the composition which reached fruition in his father's dramatic 1805 version now in the Brooklyn Museum. It is in this late picture that the soldiers at the tomb become participants in the drama, and in which the angel's hair takes on the spiralling, almost serpentine quality visible in the drawing.

    During the years that these drawings were executed, Raphael was his father's constant studio assistant. They may indicate that Raphael and his father participated equally in the conception of later compositions, and that owing to West's increasing infirmity, Raphael was frequently given the task of producing preparatory studies to explore his ideas. The study for the Entombment that completes this lot is even more perplexing; its loose, frail use of line suggests that it may be an extremely late drawing by Benjamin West himself, in the same atypical style of draughtsmanship evident in The Crucifixion studies (lot 57).

    Special Notice

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


    Provenance

    The artist's family, and by descent to
    Mrs P. Howard; Sotheby's, London, 22 March 1979, part of lot 13.