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A GEORGE V BRONZE FEMALE NUDE, ENTITLED ‘SPIRIT OF THE GARDEN’, ON A BRONZE-MOUNTED SANDSTONE FOUNTAIN PEDESTAL
A GEORGE V BRONZE FEMALE NUDE, ENTITLED ‘SPIRIT OF THE GARDEN’, ON A BRONZE-MOUNTED SANDSTONE FOUNTAIN PEDESTAL
A GEORGE V BRONZE FEMALE NUDE, ENTITLED ‘SPIRIT OF THE GARDEN’, ON A BRONZE-MOUNTED SANDSTONE FOUNTAIN PEDESTAL
A GEORGE V BRONZE FEMALE NUDE, ENTITLED ‘SPIRIT OF THE GARDEN’, ON A BRONZE-MOUNTED SANDSTONE FOUNTAIN PEDESTAL
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THE PROPERTY OF THE LATE 9TH MARQUESS OF LONDONDERRY, SOLD BY ORDER OF THE EXECUTORS
A GEORGE V BRONZE FEMALE NUDE, ENTITLED ‘SPIRIT OF THE GARDEN’, ON A BRONZE-MOUNTED SANDSTONE FOUNTAIN PEDESTAL

BY MARGARET WRIGHTSON, DATED 1912

Details
A GEORGE V BRONZE FEMALE NUDE, ENTITLED ‘SPIRIT OF THE GARDEN’, ON A BRONZE-MOUNTED SANDSTONE FOUNTAIN PEDESTAL
BY MARGARET WRIGHTSON, DATED 1912
Signed ‘Margaret Wrightson 1912 Sc.’, on a sandstone column fitted with pipe work and headed by a bronze collar titled ‘Spirit of the Garden / Peace / Hope / Love / Courage’ and ornamented with fish spouts, above four doves, the column base inscribed ‘THIS STATUE EXECUTED BY MARGARET WRIGHTSON WAS PLACED HERE OCT. 1ST 1913, BY TL
116 ¾ in. (296.5 cm.) high, overall
Provenance
Commissioned by Theresa Susey Helen, Marchioness of Londonderry (1856-1919), wife of the 6th Marquess of Londonderry for the garden at Wynyard Park, County Durham.

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Lot Essay

MARGARET WRIGHTSON (1877-1976)
The sculptor Margaret Wrightson, while lesser known today, exhibited a number of works at the Royal Academy; 26 works in marble, bronze and other medium over a fifty-five year period from 1906-1961 (Royal Academy exhibitors, 1905-1970: a dictionary of artists and their work in the summer exhibitions of the Royal Academy, Wakefield, 1973, pp. 336-337). She was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Sir Thomas Wrightson, 1st Baronet (d. 1921) of Norton Hall, Stockton-on-Tees, Co. Durham. From an early age she showed great promise in the arts, and encouraged by her father, studied at the Royal College of Art under William Blake Richmond (d. 1921) and Edouard Lantéri (d. 1917) where she discovered her creative vocation in sculpture. Margaret Wrightson went on to exhibit at the Walker Gallery, Liverpool. From November 1929-1943 she was made an associate member of the Royal Society of British Sculptors and in 1943-1945 became a fellow. Many of her works are to be found in her homeland, North East England, including a bronze statue of 'The Viking landing on the Northumberland Coast’, dated 1925, formerly at Doxford Hall, the home of Sir Walter Runciman (d. 1949), later Baron Runciman, M.P. and shipowner, now re-sited at County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland.
In 1912, she exhibited a bronze statuette of 'Spirit of the Garden’ at the Royal Academy, presumably the model for the present sculpture (no. 1918), and the following year, in 1913, a life-size version, the present example, described as, 'Spirit of the Garden Fountain for Wynyard Park’ (no. 1819). This fountain group depicts Persephone, issue of the union between the Greek goddess Demeter and a mortal. Wynyard Park, Co. Durham was the principal seat of Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry (d. 1915), and his spouse, Theresa Susey Helen, née Chetwynd Talbot (d. 1919). The sculpture was almost certainly commissioned by Lady Londonderry who together with her husband had an enduring friendship with Margaret Wrightson's family and knew her when she was a child (see below). The sculpture was evidently much admired by Lady Londonderry who tenderly wrote of the myth of the garden spirit, and included photographs of when the sculpture was first installed, in her private journal; she passionately loved the garden at Wynyard Park, and in times of turmoil sought refuge in its peace and tranquillity. The gardens were abandoned by the mid-20th century, presumably after the house was requisitioned during the second world war.
The Londonderry family commissioned Margaret Wrightson for sculptures throughout her career including, in 1926, a marble head of Lady Mary Stewart (no. 1286), in 1931, a bronze head of Lady Helen Stewart (no. 1616) (both daughters of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry), and later in the 1930s the 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary’ fountain modelled on the 7th Marquess’ youngest daughter, Lady Mairi, now at Mount Stewart, the Irish seat of the Vane-Tempest-Stewart family. A bronze head of Lady Helen Maglona Vane-Tempest-Stewart, dated 1954, by Margaret Wrightson is also at Mount Stewart (National Trust inv. no. 1220135).

FRIENDSHIP
The connection between the Vane-Tempest-Stewart (Londonderry) and Wrightson families dates back to at least 1714 when the Wrightson family who owned an adjoining property near Sadberge, Co. Durham to that of Lionel Vane, son of Sir George Vane, was induced to change the name of their property by Mr. Vane from 'Hardstones’ to 'Spring House’ (Rev. W. Garmonsway Wrightson, Memorials of the Family of Wrightson, London, 1894, p. 99). Although the relationship waned with the Vane family rise to the peerage, it was revived when Sir Thomas Wrightson moved his family to Norton Hall in the 1870s, and a friendship was established with the 6th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry at Wynyard Park. Margaret was born at Norton Hall in 1877, and Lady Londonderry almost certainly knew the sculptor from childhood.

THERESA SUSEY HELEN, MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY (18566-1919)
Lady Theresa Chetwynd Talbot was the daughter of Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 19th Earl of Shrewsbury (d. 1877), a prominent Conservative politician and Premier Earl of England. She married Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 6th Marquess of Londonderry in 1875, when he was styled Viscount Castlereagh. In 1884 Castlereagh inherited the Londonderry Marquessate, and two years later was appointed the Viceroy of Ireland. During their time at Dublin Castle they gained significant popularity and on their departure the crowds showed them far greater warmth than they had on their arrival three years earlier. Their time in the Irish capital gave Lady Londonderry her first real opportunity to play political hostess, a role she relished, and one to which her personality was ideally suited. Following their return to England, Lord and Lady Londonderry reawakened Londonderry House, restoring it to its former position as the capital’s chief Tory salon; a position which it hadn’t occupied since the time of Frances Anne, Marchioness of Londonderry (the 6th Marquess’s grandmother). Both Wynyard Park and Londonderry House had extensive work carried out under Lady Londonderry’s direction; most notably it was she who applied the classical ornamentation to the gallery at Londonderry House (creating the ballroom in the form it would remain until the demise of the house in 1965); she also remodelled the chapel at Wynyard from 1903. Lady Londonderry filled the rooms, both at Wynyard Park and Londonderry House, with seat furniture and palms and undoubtedly added to the already magnificent collections in each.
‘She reveled in personal splendour, she frankly and unmitigatedly enjoyed standing at the head of her stairs when some big party was in progress, with the ‘family fender’ , as she called that nice diamond crown gleaming on her most comely head, and hugging the fact that this was her house, and that she was marchioness from top to toe and was playing the part to perfection…’ (E. F. Benson, quoted in H. Montgomery Hyde, The Londonderrys, London, 1979, p. 68).
Lord and Lady Londonderry were close friends of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later H.M. King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra), who they entertained at their various country homes as many as eight times between 1890 and 1903. The latter visit being to Wynyard Park, where the King held what is said to be the first Privy Council meeting to be held in a subject’s country house since the Civil War, and where he appointed the 6th Marquess Lord President of the Council.

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