• Victorian and British Impressi auction at Christies

    Sale 5881

    Victorian and British Impressionist Pictures including Drawings and Watercolours

    18 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 50

    John Callcott Horsley, R.A. (1817-1903)

    Wedding rings

    Price Realised  


    John Callcott Horsley, R.A. (1817-1903)
    Wedding rings
    with signature 'J. C. Horsley 1883' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    50 1/8 x 40 in. (127.3 x 101.6 cm.)

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    In this eye-catching and vibrantly coloured picture, John Calcott Horsley shows us a young couple passing a jewellery shop. Horsley had begun his career painting historical genre but later turned to more contemporary subjects; he became particularly known for his scenes of courting couples. In this striking work, he mirrors the composition of one of his best known works Showing a preference (Sold by Christie's for 299,000 on 22 November 2006, Lot 219). The faces of the couple convey a life likeness which engages the viewer and leads them further into the picture which, like much of Horsley's work, has symbolism which would have resonated with a Victorian audience used to interpreting pictures. The church in the background, the vicar in the distance and of course the jewellers all leave the viewer in no doubt about what will follow and demonstrate Horsley's mastery of his technique and aptitude as a storyteller.
    It has been suggested that the church depicted in the top left hand corner is St Dunstan's Church in Cranbrook, Kent. Horsley lived in Cranbrook and was part of the Cranbrook Colony, a group of artists who settled in Cranbrook from 1854 onwards and painted the village and surrounding area.

    Special Notice

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

    Saleroom Notice

    The cataloging for this lot should read 'with signature' and not as printed in the catalogue.


    London, Royal Academy, 1883, no. 200.
    with Findlay Galleries Inc.