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Charles Compton (1828-1884)
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Charles Compton (1828-1884)

A Study in the National Gallery - 1855

Details
Charles Compton (1828-1884)
A Study in the National Gallery - 1855
signed and dated 'C. Compton/July 1855' (lower right)
oil on canvas
10 x 12 in. (25.4 x 30.5 cm.)
Provenance
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 2 March 1982, lot 215.
with The Fine Art Society, London, from whom acquired by the present owner in 1982.
Exhibited
London, Royal Academy, 1856, no. 294.
Victorian Childhood, 1986, cat. pl. 24.
The Pursuit of Leisure, 1997-8, no. 38
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

The children are looking at a derivative of Pietà with Mourning Angels by the Bolognese Renaissance artist, Francesco Francia, a lunette to the altarpiece in the National Gallery that had been purchased in 1841 (fig. 1). Although few biographical details are known about Charles Compton, it is understood he was acquainted with some of the Pre-Raphaelite artists and admired Millais' paintings in particular. There was a growing Victorian conviction that looking at High Art was morally improving and many artists chose to depict public art exhibitions, examples include George Bernard O'Neill's Public Opinion (1863) and Thomas Hall's One Touch of Nature Makes the Whole World Kin (1867). Most notable amongst them was William Powell Frith's A Private View in the Royal Academy, 1881.
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