John William Waterhouse, R.A. (1849-1917)
John William Waterhouse, R.A. (1849-1917)

Day Dreams

John William Waterhouse, R.A. (1849-1917)
Day Dreams
signed 'J. W. WATERHOUSE' (lower right)
pencil and watercolour heightened with bodycolour on paper
17¾ x 10 3/8 in. (45.1 x 26.4 cm.)
Illustrated London News, 'The Dudley Gallery', 8 March 1879, p. 234.
A. Hobson, The Art and Life of JW Waterhouse, RA, 1949-1917, London, 1980, p. 197, no. 325.
London, Dudley Gallery, 1879, no. 615 (£40).

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Lot Essay

The present picture is an intriguing rediscovery that epitomizes J.W. Waterhouse's long-term commitment to watercolour painting, especially in the earlier half of his career. The young artist relished the motif of charming girls posed in classical settings, not only in celebration of female beauty, but also of the enchantment he experienced during his first visit to Pompeii in 1877.

Day Dreams features many of Waterhouse's favourite devices of the late 1870s, including the luminous peacock fan, the mottled wall, the leafless tree trunk, the terracotta drainspout, and the complementary blue tones in the fan, the girl's garment, and the awning rolled up above.

In its review of the Dudley Gallery's 1879 watercolours exhibition, the Illustrated London News observed, 'Delicate artistic qualities are noticeable in 'Day Dreams' (615), by J.W. Waterhouse - an Italian girl seated against a white wall, holding a fan of peacock's feathers.'

We are grateful to Peter Trippi for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.

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