Home page

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
Henry James Holiday (1839-1927)
Henry James Holiday (1839-1927)
Henry James Holiday (1839-1927)
2 More
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more
Henry James Holiday (1839-1927)

Dante Alighieri

Details
Henry James Holiday (1839-1927)
Dante Alighieri
inscribed 'DANTE ALIGHIERI' (lower centre, in a cartouche)
pencil, watercolour and bodycolour heightened with gum arabic on paper
25 x 19 ½ in. (63.5 x 49.5 cm.)
Provenance
Franz Hanfstaengl (1804-1877), Munich.
Literature
A.L. Baldry, 'Henry Holiday', Walker's Quarterly, no. 31-32,London, 1930, opp. p. 25.
Exhibited
London, Royal Academy, 1875, no. 639.
London, Walker Galleries, 1930, no. 17.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

Brought to you by

Sarah Reynolds
Sarah Reynolds

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

Condition report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay


Holiday’s 1883 Dante and Beatrice (fig. 1, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool) is considered his most famous and important work, taken from Dante Alighieri’s autobiographical poem, La Vita Nuova. Dante was a Florentine poet who lived between 1265 and 1321, and his writing inspired many of the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers, particularly Rossetti. The subject must have engaged Holiday for some time, as the present work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1875, eight years before Dante and Beatrice, and another picture, entitled Dante and Beatrice meeting as Children (location unknown) was exhibited there in 1861.

This watercolour portrait was described as being ‘studied from a cast said to have been taken from the face of the poet after death’, and certainly Dante’s strong, patrician features here have an almost life-like realism, while the cartouche attached to the marble shelf in the foreground recalls the identification of a death mask. Dante holds his La Vita Nuova in front of him, with a hand-written page in Latin beside. He wears the laurel wreath which is often associated with him – a medieval crown of honour for poets.

More from The Joe Setton Collection: from Pre-Raphaelites to Last Romantics

View All
View All