JAMES CLARKE HOOK, R.A. (1819-1907)
signed and indistinctly dated 'Jas. C. Hook/1857' (lower right)
oil on canvas
23 x 37 ½ in. (58.4 x 95.3 cm.)
with Agnew's, London.
Mr C.P. Matthews.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 15 June 1973, lot 85, as 'Catching a butterfly'.
with J. Maas & Co., London.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, Belgravia, 18 March 1980, lot 164, as 'A country idyll', where purchased for the present collection.
F.G. Stephens, 'J.C. Hook R.A.: his life and work', The Art Annual, London, 1888, p. 32.

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Lot Essay

This picture was executed the year Hook left London for Surrey. Encouraged by his visits to the artist Richard Redgrave at Abinger, Hook parted with his London house, Tor Villa on Campden Hill, and built Pine Wood House at Wormley, near Witley. There he abandoned painting historical and Shakespearean subjects in favour of scenes of rural genre. A butterfly is also the subject of A few minutes to wait before 12 oclock in which a baby is captivated by a passing butterfly while waiting for his labouring father to have a midday meal in a cornfield. Butterflies seem to signify the artist’s delight in summer in the countryside. Hook went on to be a renowned painter of seascapes.

We are grateful to Dr Juliet McMaster of the University of Alberta, Canada, a descendant of the artist, for her assistance in preparing this catalogue entry. Her biography of the artist is awaiting publication.

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