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A Dancing Girl with Cymbals in a Green Robe

A Dancing Girl with Cymbals in a Green Robe
oil on canvas with gold leaf background, arched top
86 5/8 in. x 50 1/4 in. (220.2 cm. x 127.6 cm.)
Painted circa 1869.
The Hon. Percy Scawen Wyndham (1835-1911) and Madeline Caroline Frances Eden Wyndham (1845-1920), London, commissioned from the artist.
Grace Cecile Lowther (1854-1941), Countess of Lonsdale, Lowther Castle, Cumbria.
John George Hope (1912-1987) and Mary Pilar Elizabeth Gordon Hope (1914-1989), London, until circa 1972.
J. B. Godfrey.
His sale; Sotheby's, Belgravia, 9 July 1974, lot 47b, as Female Cymbal Player.
with Wengraff, acquired at the above sale.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 22 June 1990, as part of lot 83, as The Dance of the Cymbalists.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 7 June 1996, lot 570.
Acquired by Ann and Gordon Getty from the above.
M. D. Conway, Travels in South Kensington, London, 1882, p. 164.
L. and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, London, 1975, p. 174, no. 422, as Female Cymbal Player.
C. Gere, Nineteenth-Century Decoration, London, 1989, pp. 18, 23, pl. 18, illustrated in the drawing of 44 Belgrave Square.
C. Dakers, Clouds, The Biography of a Country House, New Haven and London, 1993, p. 46, illustrated in the drawing of 44 Belgrave Square, opposite p. 47, as The Dance of the Cymbalists.
R. Ormond, 'Leighton and Mural Painting,' Apollo, London, February 1996, p. 55, fig. 9, illustrated, as Figure of a dancer.
C. Dakers, The Holland Park Circle: Artists and Victorian Society, New Haven and London, 1999, p. 126, as The Cymbalists.
C. Willsdon, Mural painting in Britain 1840-1940: image and meaning, New York, 2000, p. 320.
B. Bryant, 'The Grosvenor Gallery, Patronage and the Aesthetic Portrait,' The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement, 1860-1900, exh. cat., London, 2011, pp. 160, 163, fig. 143, illustrated in the drawing of 44 Belgrave Square, as The Dance of the Cymbalists.
C. Renton, Those Wild Wyndhams: Three Sisters at the Heart of Power, New York, 2018, n.p., as The Cymbalists.
San Francisco, 2820 Scott Street, San Francisco Decorators Showcase, May 2008.
Sale room notice
Please see additional provenance on our website.

Brought to you by

Elizabeth Seigel
Elizabeth Seigel Vice President, Specialist, Head of Private and Iconic Collections

Lot Essay

This, and lot 60, are from a sequence of five decorative paintings that Leighton carried out for the staircase of 44 Belgrave Square, the London house of the Hon. Percy Wyndham. They formed part of a scheme which also incorporated work by Val Prinsep and Wyndham’s wife Madeline, all under the supervision of the architect George Aitchison who had designed Leighton’s own house in Holland Park, and was a close friend of the artist. Aitchison’s study for the staircase, now in the drawings collection at the RIBA, shows the present lot, and is dated 1869 (lot 60, fig. 1). Lot 60 must have faced it across the stairwell. Moncure Conway’s Travels in South Kensington (1882) notes: 'In the house of the Hon. Percy Wyndham, Belgrave Square, there is a grand staircase, which has on the wall, near one of its landings, five life-size classical figures, by Sir Frederic Leighton, and at the top a deep frieze of cormorants, storks, and other wild birds: and the dining room of the same beautiful mansion has been elegantly adorned by Mrs Wyndham – herself an artist – aided by Mr. V Prinsep.'
The scheme was in the extreme 'aesthetic' taste of the day, the figures, with their gold grounds, being seen in a setting of pink, grey and powder blue. In the early 1880s, Leighton subsequently embarked on two further projects of domestic decoration; one for the stockbroker Stewart Hodgson at 1 South Audley Street (these paintings are now at Leighton House), and the other for the New York collector Henry Marquand. A gold ground from the latter scheme of Erato, goddess of lyric poetry, was sold at Sotheby’s, New York, 28 January 2021, lot 45 ($1,290,500). It embellished the ceiling above a piano designed by Alma-Tadema, now in the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA, and associated seat furniture, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the V&A Museum, London, respectively.
Percy and Madeline Wyndham were great patrons of the arts and were leaders of a cultured aristocratic set, known as 'The Souls', because of the quality of their intellectual discourse. They were friends with Burne-Jones and Watts, and created a notable country house, Clouds, in Wiltshire, designed by Philip Webb, with interiors by William Morris & Co. Their daughters, the celebrated Wyndham Sisters, were painted by Sargent in a portrait that is one of the most admired pictures in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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