John William Godward, R.B.A. (1861-1922)
John William Godward, R.B.A. (1861-1922)
John William Godward, R.B.A. (1861-1922)
2 More
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more
John William Godward, R.B.A. (1861-1922)

In the Prime of the Summertime (Reverie)

Details
John William Godward, R.B.A. (1861-1922)
In the Prime of the Summertime (Reverie)
signed and dated 'J.W. GODWARD. 1914' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 x 36 ½ in. (45 x 92.8 cm.)
Provenance
with Messrs. Eugene Cremetti, Thomas McLean Gallery, London, 1915.
Literature
Pears Annual, London, 1916.
V.G. Swanson, John William Godward: The Eclipse of Classicism, Suffolk, 1997, pp. 238-239.
V.G. Swanson, J.W. Godward, 1861-1922: The Eclipse of Classicism, Suffolk, 2018, p. 313, no. 8.
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These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime.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

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

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay


In the Prime of the Summertime was painted in 1914, the year after Clelia (see lot 17), during Godward’s first few years in Rome. The work is also known as Reverie, as the title was shortened due to its publication as a print. Vern Swanson describes the scene as ‘a daintily-dressed maiden reclining on a cool marble seat, with a fan of peacock feathers raised above her head, indulging in sweet day-dreams in the quietude of a scene glowing white with light and colour’ (V.G. Swanson, J.W. Godward, 1861-1922: The Eclipse of Classicism, Suffolk, 2018, p. 313).

The picture relates to a 1914 oil entitled Tranquillity (private collection), where a similar dark haired beauty is depicted draped across a marble bench, against the same mountain vista. A preliminary drawing exists. Godward often sketched his models from life, and then reviewed his drawings, before selecting his favoured images and posing the model again. There is also an oil study by the artist of the mountains visible to the left entitled Punta Campanelle from Cariv, above Fazalioni (1914, location unknown) on the Sorrentine Peninsula.

Godward often reused favourite props and backgrounds, and here we can see the peacock fan that features in several of his works. Holding the fan behind her head, Godward offers a tactile comparison between the softness of the feathers and the model's hair, both finely rendered with minute brushstrokes. Touches of green from the peacock fan are picked up in ribbons of her beautifully draped, golden dress, and in the foliage of the trees. The figure is seated on a marble bench with a calm blue sea behind her. The height of the sitter's vantage point further removes her from the concerns of contemporary life, and the serene atmosphere is heightened by the clear light. The quietude effortlessly transports the viewer to another time and place.

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

View All
View All