Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)

Portrait of a lady, bust-length

Details
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882)
Portrait of a lady, bust-length
signed with monogram and dated '1870' (centre right)
coloured chalks on pale blue paper
22 ¼ x 16 ¾ in. (56.5 x 42.5 cm. )
Provenance
Professor Randolph Schwabe.
H. Jefferson Barnes; Christie's, London, 2 March 1971, lot 71.
with Peter Nahum, London, where purchased by the present owners.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

Brought to you by

Clare Keiller
Clare Keiller

Lot Essay

Whilst Rossetti is perhaps best known for his literary or mythological works, he also produced remarkable portrait studies. Despite the immediate differences between his idealised work and his far more realistic portraits, Rossetti’s fascination with female beauty ties these two disparate aspects of his work together. The professional models he used, such as Alexa Wilding (see lot 5), Marie Ford, and Antonia Caiva, have become well-known names for their part in the creation of the ideal Pre-Raphaelite woman. Yet his portrait sitters were frequently well-known names in their own right; beautiful women with important roles in society.

Rossetti often depicted family members or the wives and daughters of his friends and patrons in intimate, personal studies, which have an extraordinary realism in light of the idealism he is best known for, for example Mrs. F.R. Leyland (lot 8). The present drawing demonstrates his facility in capturing not only a likeness, but also his sitter’s personality. With her sharply defined features, still mouth, and direct gaze, there is no doubting the strength of the lady’s character, which is reinforced by the lack of jewellery or embellishment, and the simplicity of her dress.

It has not been possible to confirm, but the present drawing has been traditionally identified as a member of the Ionides family. There is a strong resemblance between the sitter and another drawing by Rossetti of Aglaia Coronis (née Ionides), now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

This drawing was formerly in the collection of the artist Randolph Schwabe (1885-1948), who served as a war artist in both World Wars and was appointed Slade Professor of Fine Art in 1930; a position he held until his death fourteen years later. Sir Harry Jefferson Barnes (1915-82) studied under Schwabe at the Slade. Their relationship became familial when Barnes married Schwabe’s daughter Alice in 1941. In 1946 Barnes was appointed Deputy Director of The Glasgow School of Art, becoming its Director in 1964.

;

More from Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

View All
View All