John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)
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John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)

Flora

Details
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope (1829-1908)
Flora
pencil and watercolour with bodycolour, on paper
22½ x 9¾ in. (57 x 24.5 cm.)
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 2 July 1904, lot 48, as 'The Birth of Eve' (24 gns to Gooden & Fox).
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 20% on the buyer's premium.

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Bernice Owusu
Bernice Owusu

Lot Essay

The picture is a watercolour version of a larger oil sold in these Rooms on 7 June 1996, lot 576. The composition shows Stanhope's style at its most Italianate, owing an obvious debt to Botticelli's Birth of Venus in the Uffizi, a work that, as a resident of Bellosguardo, he would have known well. Particularly reminiscent of the famous prototype is the way Flora's auburn locks cascade over her shoulders, loosely restrained by ropes of pearls. The connection is underlined by a painting of The Birth of Venus by Stanhope himself, probably the one he showed at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1885, in which the pose of the figure adopted for Flora is repeated (illustrated in Percy Bate, The English Pre-Raphaelite Painters, 4th ed., London, 1910, between pp. 108 and 109).
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