ANGELICA KAUFFMAN, R.A. (CHUR, GRAUBÜNDEN 1741-1807 ROME) AND STUDIO
ANGELICA KAUFFMAN, R.A. (CHUR, GRAUBÜNDEN 1741-1807 ROME) AND STUDIO
ANGELICA KAUFFMAN, R.A. (CHUR, GRAUBÜNDEN 1741-1807 ROME) AND STUDIO
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This lot is offered without reserve.
ANGELICA KAUFFMAN, R.A. (CHUR, GRAUBÜNDEN 1741-1807 ROME) AND STUDIO

Penelope awakened by Euryclea with the news of Ulysses' Return

Details
ANGELICA KAUFFMAN, R.A. (CHUR, GRAUBÜNDEN 1741-1807 ROME) AND STUDIO
Penelope awakened by Euryclea with the news of Ulysses' Return
oil on canvas, unlined
31 x 41 1/8 in. (78.7 x 104.5 cm.)
Provenance
Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare (1865-1947), 6th Bt., Stourhead, Wiltshire; his sale, Christie's, London, 2 June 1883, lot 3 (7 gns. to Waters).
Sir Arthur Philip du Cros (1871-1955), 1st Bt., Dublin, and until,
[Property of a Gentleman]; Christie's, London, 17 July 1992, lot 14, where acquired by the present owner.
Literature
W. Wassyng Roworth, Angelica Kauffman. A continental Artist in Georgian England, Brighton and London, 1992, pp. 53, 65, and 209, fig. 33.
B. Baumgärtel, Angelika Kauffman, exhibition catalogue, 1998, p. 378, under no. 223, as Copy or Replica.
A. Rosenthal, Angelica Kaufmann, art and sensibility, New Haven and London, 2006, p. 288, note 67.
Inscribed
T. Burke, 1773.
W. W. Ryland, 1785.
Special notice
This lot is offered without reserve.
Sale room notice
We are grateful to Wendy Wassyng Roworth for her assistance cataloging this work on the basis of photographs.

Please note the first two lines of provenance listed in the printed catalogue are erroneous, this lot was not in the collection of Joseph Wallace, Belfast, nor was it included in the Christie’s London sale on 29 July 1869. For early provenance on this painting please contact the department directly on 212 363 2478.

We have been informed that the frame on the present lot matches others at Stourhead.

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Jonquil O’Reilly Vice President, Specialist, Head of Sale

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Lot Essay

Born in Switzerland and trained in Italy, Angelica Kauffman came to London in 1766, where she established herself as one of the city’s most prominent and influential artists. In 1768, she and thirty-four other artists petitioned the king to establish a Royal Academy, and in the following year was one of just two women included in its first catalogue with the designation ‘R. A.’ after her name. In the 1770s Kauffman drew upon the epics of Homer and Virgil for subjects. The resulting works were widely exhibited and among her first commercial successes with history paintings in England.

Kauffman particularly favored the character Penelope, inventing several compositional themes centered on the loyal wife of Odysseus. Here, the nurse Euryclea, awakes the sleeping Penelope with the news of Ulysses’ return after many years away fighting in the Trojan War. During his long absence, Penelope cunningly avoids marrying any of the over one hundred suitors who attempt to claim her as their wife, remaining loyal to her husband. In order to prove that he is, in fact, her husband, Penelope announces a contest. Whoever can string Ulysses’ rigid bow and shoot it through twelve axe heads can have her hand in marriage. Ulysses does this handily, yet Penelope tests him further, fearing he is a god in disguise. She finally accepts him as her true husband after he correctly describes their bed. In addition to this theme, Kauffman conceives of other narrative compositions where Penelope is used as a symbol of the ideal wife and mother, including Penelope sacrificing to Minerva for the safe return of her Son, Telemachus, which remains in the collections of Stourhead, where the present work once hung.

Kauffman painted another, nearly identical version of this composition, which she signed and dated 1772 and is today in the Vorarlberger Landesmuseum, Bregenz (see B. Baumgärtel, op. cit., p. 378, no. 223). The present version, which exhibits several variations to the composition, was part of the collections the magnificent Palladian mansion in Salisbury, Stourhead. Stourhead was acquired by the Hoare family in 1717, at which time the original manor house was demolished and a new house, one of the first of its kind, was designed by Colen Campbell and then built by Nathaniel Ireson between 1721 and 1725. Over the course of the following two centuries, Stourhead would remain in the Hoare family and was filled with an impressive art collection and distinguished library.

We are grateful to Wendy Wassyng Roworth for her assistance cataloging this work on the basis of photographs.

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