The present work depicts a section of Nicolas Poussin's Eliezer and Rebecca, painted in 1648. Grant’s deep admiration for the work of Poussin dates to his student years in Paris in 1906-07 when he frequently visited the Louvre and the Cabinet des Dessins where he studied the artist’s drawings. The present work shows the left-hand side of Poussin’s painting in the Louvre. It was probably made from a black-and-white reproduction of the Poussin; Grant has invented much of the colour scheme of the figures’ clothes. The handling of paint suggests a work of circa 1910. Figures holding vessels or baskets on their heads occur in several paintings by Grant during these early years (for example his 1910 murals at King’s College, Cambridge, painted for John Maynard Keynes) and later (for example Spring, lot 198); they derive from both Poussin and Piero della Francesca.
We are very grateful to Richard Shone for his assistance in cataloguing lots 197, 198, 212-214.