• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7635

    British Art on Paper

    10 December 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 42

    Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828)

    The Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy

    Price Realised  


    Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828)
    The Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy
    with collector's stamp 'R.P. Bonington/Col. J. Lewis Brown' (lower right)
    8 x 11¼ in. (20.3 x 28.7 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

    John Lewis Brown has been described as 'possibly the most discerning collector ever to have purchased Bonington's work' (M. Pointon, The Bonington Circle: English Watercolour and Anglo-French Landscape 1790-1855, Brighton, 1985, p. 131). An importer of wine from Bordeaux, he was based in London but frequently travelled to and from Calais, and may have bought some of Bonington's works in France. His choice collection was sold in two distinguished auctions in Paris in April 1837. Many of Bonington's works once in Lewis Brown's collection are now in the Wallace Collection, London.

    Bonington visited Venice in 1826, accompanied by Baron Charles Rivet (1800-1872), a friend and patron of Delacroix. The visit infused Bonington with enthusiasm for historical scenes set in Venice and for the glowing colours which he saw in the paintings of Titian (circa 1485-1576) and Tintoretto (1518-1594). The present sketch of the Rialto Bridge, with gondolas tied up at mooring-posts in the foreground, is one of 'a masterly series of water-colours and pencil drawings... all done with... poetical precision' (C. Peacock, Richard Parkes Bonington, London, 1979, p. 61). These sketches were to serve as the basis for Bonington's later watercolours of Venice, which remain one of his most popular subjects.

    Special Notice

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


    John Lewis Brown (L. 307d).

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Estate of Jasmin S. Trembley


    A. Shirley, Bonington, London, 1940, pl. 109, as in the collection of Mlle. Lewis Brown.