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    Sale 12143

    19th Century European Art

    26 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 56

    Edwin Long, R.A. (British, 1829-1891)

    The Ionian Pottery Seller


    Edwin Long, R.A. (British, 1829-1891)
    The Ionian Pottery Seller
    signed with the artist's monogram and dated '18 EL 81' (center right)
    oil on canvas
    46 1/8 x 35 in. (117.2 x 89 cm.)

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    Although he achieved popular acclaim very early on in his career, Edwin Longsden Long struggled to gain acceptance into the Royal Academy. The turning point in his career came in the mid-1870s, when he fell under the spell of the Middle East following a trip to Egypt and Syria in 1874. These ancient and exotic lands supplied him with a vast repertoire of new subjects, which fed his imagination and allowed him to excel in his métier. Upon his return to England, Long immersed himself in these ancient cultures, reading exhaustively on the subject and visiting the British Museum to study its extensive collections. Although the subject was new to Long, his penchant for intensive research for his paintings began much earlier in his career with his Spanish genre scenes. This combination of historical accuracy and interesting and accessible subject matter, made Long very popular with the public. Indeed, the success of the oriental, classical and biblical scenes secured his fortune and enabled him to build the magnificent studio house, designed by the Arts and Crafts architect Norman Shaw.

    Long’s greatest success came in 1875 when he exhibited The Babylonian Marriage Market at the Royal Academy. Hailed by critics and the public alike, this work finally secured the long-awaited membership as an Associate Royal Academician. In 1882, the Babylonian Marriage Market achieved further notoriety when it was sold at Christie’s for £6,235, and auction record for a work by a living artist and a feat which remained unsurpassed for the next decade.

    Painted in 1881, the year that Long finally achieved full membership in the Royal Academy, The Ionian Pottery Seller demonstrates all the elements of Long’s mature style. Long’s avid research in ancient history is evident in the costumes and jewelry that adorn the seated young woman and the various pots and vessels scattered around her.


    with Nathan Mitchell Gallery, London.
    His sale; Christie's, London, 14 February 1936, lot 128.
    Mr. Mitchell, acquired at the above sale.
    Anonymous sale; Stockholms Auktionsverk, Stockholm, 8 June 2016, lot 2233.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note the following additional literature for this lot:
    M. Bills, Edwin Longsden Long RA, London, 1998, no. 187, p. 33.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from an Important American Collection


    M. Bills, Edwin Longsden Long RA, London, 1998, no. 187, p. 33.