Lot Content

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (BRITISH 1828-1882)
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (BRITISH 1828-1882)
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (BRITISH 1828-1882)
2 More
These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more PRE-RAPHAELITES TO SYMBOLISTS: IMPORTANT DRAWINGS & PAINTINGS FROM THE COLLECTION OF HARTMUTH JUNG
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (BRITISH 1828-1882)

Study of Alexa Wilding, her head turned three-quarters to the right

Details
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI (BRITISH 1828-1882)
Study of Alexa Wilding, her head turned three-quarters to the right
signed with monogram and dated '1873' (lower left)
pastel, on light blue paper
20 ½ x 14 ½ in. (52 x 37 cm.)
Provenance
William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme.
Given by him to the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, Cheshire.
Sold by the Trustees of the Lady Lever Art Gallery; Christie's, London, 6 June 1958, part of lot 81 (75 gns to Mrs G. Dimson).
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 8 June 2000, lot 28.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 9 June 2004, lot 20A, where purchased by the present owner.
Literature
R.R. Tatlock, English Painting of the XVIII to XXth Centuries: A Record of the Collection in the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight, London, 1928, p. 136, no. 2887 (as 'Head of a lady. Coloured chalk drawing').
V. Surtees, The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: A Catalogue Raisonné, Oxford, 1971, vol. 1, p. 205, no. 564.
Exhibited
Port Sunlight, Lady Lever Art Gallery, The Pre-Raphaelites, their Friends and Followers, 1948, no. 174, lent from the Lever Collection, Port Sunlight.
Special Notice

These lots have been imported 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 Specialist, Head of Sale

Lot Essay


Alexa Wilding was one of the artist's favourite models in the 1860s and 1870s and posed for many of his most important works of this period, including Venus Verticordia (1864-8; Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, Bournemouth), Monna Vanna (1866; Tate, London), Regina Cordium (1866; Glasgow Art Gallery), Sibylla Palmifera (1866-70; Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight), Veronica Veronese, The Bower Meadow (1872; Manchester City Art Gallery), La Ghirlandata (1873; Guildhall Art Gallery, London), and The Blessed Damozel (1875-8; Fogg Museum of Art, Harvard).
Mrs Surtees refers to Alexa Wilding's 'languid features', indicating 'a not too-marked intelligence', and a 'slightly heavy jaw-line.' But perhaps her outstanding feature, very evident in the present drawing, was the way her thick auburn hair fell forward in two pronounced waves on either side of her forehead. 'Miss Wilding's was a lovely face.' wrote Rossetti's assistant Henry Treffry Dunn, 'beautifully moulded in every feature, full of quiescent, soft, mystical repose that suited some of his conceptions admirably, but without any variety of expression. She sat like the Sphinx waiting to be questioned and with always a vague reply in return; about the last girl, one would think, to have the makings of an actress in her; and yet to be that was her ambition.' Dunn also noticed that 'she had a deep well of affection within her seemingly placid exterior.' When Rossetti died at Birchington-on-Sea on Easter Day 1882, she was 'one of the few...who journeyed down...when she could ill afford it so that she might place a wreath on (his) grave.'
The drawing comes from the enormous collection formed by the soap magnate William Hesketh Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme (1851-1925), and was given by him to the Lady Lever Art Gallery which he built for the benefit of his workforce at Port Sunlight in Cheshire. Opened in 1922 after delays caused by the First World War, the Gallery was a memorial to his wife, who had died nine years earlier.

More from British and European Art

View All
View All