• Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen auction at Christies

    Sale 7822

    Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 330

    John Atkinson Grimshaw (British, 1836-1893)

    In the artist's house


    John Atkinson Grimshaw (British, 1836-1893)
    In the artist's house
    signed and dated 'Atkinson Grimshaw/1878 May' (lower right), and signed and inscribed 'A reverie Atkinson Grimshaw' (on the stretcher)
    oil on canvas
    32¾ x 48¼ in. (83.3 x 127.7 cm.)

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    Although Grimshaw is best known for his moonlit 'nocturnes', of British ports and the lanes of suburban Leeds, he produced in the 1870s a remarkable group of works celebrating the interiors he created at Knostrop Hall, a house he leased on the Temple Newsam estate.

    These demonstrate the prevailing taste for Japanese objects. Following the dawn of the Meiji period, during which Japan, after centuries of self-imposed isolation, sought to strengthen its links with the West, Japanese textiles, fans and ceramics became a pre-requisite for fashionable, 'aesthetic' interiors. The eclecticism of this taste is shown in the richly stamped wall paper, which showed the Jacobean furniture to best advantage. The exoticism is continued in the deliberately archaic costume of the sitter who wears her hair, her gown and slippers in a pastiche of the fashions of Regency England. Everything in the interior has been carefully collected, and composed to demonstrate a refined sensibility.

    In this small series of pictures of his house and garden, Grimshaw demonstrates his versatility as an artist. Several carry echoes of Alma-Tadema, and Tissot, and they brought the artist to the attention of leading London galleries, such as Agnew's, who started to sell his work from the 1880s onwards. Perhaps Grimshaw's most sophisticated and celebrated interior, entitled 'Dulce Domum', is now in the collection of Lord Lloyd Webber and was exhibited at his exhibition at the Royal Academy, Pre-Raphaelite and Other Masters, 2003, no. 117.

    Special Notice

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


    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 7 May 1998, lot 205, where acquired by the present owner.

    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that this picture has been requested for the forthcoming exhibition, John Atkinson Grimshaw: Painter of Moonlight, to be held at The Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate and the Guildhall Art Gallery, London, from April 2011 to January 2012. For further information, please refer to the Victorian Pictures department.