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Frank Cadogan Cowper, R.A. (1877-1958)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Frank Cadogan Cowper, R.A. (1877-1958)

Ecce Ancilla Domini! (The Annunciation), after Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Frank Cadogan Cowper, R.A. (1877-1958)
Ecce Ancilla Domini! (The Annunciation), after Dante Gabriel Rossetti
the second signed and inscribed 'F.C. COWPER/AFTER/D.G. ROSSETTI' (lower left) and with inscription 'Mr Cowper c/o Parfeitt 2 Nov 1901' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
47 x 17 ½ in. (119.4 x 44.4 cm.); and 47 x 18 ¾ in. (119.4 x 47.7 cm.)
(2)a pair
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

Although much of his career fell outside the Victorian period, Frank Cadogan Cowper was heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, as demonstrated in this interpretation of Rossetti's masterpiece Ecce Ancilla Domini!, painted in 1849-50. Henry Tate eventually acquired Rossetti's painting in 1886 and it formed part of his donation to the nation when the Tate gallery opened its doors in 1897.
The image exerted a powerful hold on the young Cowper and he decided to paint his own version of the subject. It is unclear if he originally intended to paint just the right half of the picture, that showing Mary cowering on her bed as this canvas is almost entirely faithful to Rossetti's interpretation. However, when it came to the figure of the Angel Gabriel Cowper has allowed his own vision to overrule that of Rossetti's work. Cowper's Gabriel wears the elaborately embroidered cassock of a priest, rather than the simple white classical robe of Rossetti's figure, which helps emphasise the importance of the Immaculate Conception within the rituals of the later Christian church. It also demonstrates a growing confidence in his own artistic abilities and a blossoming interest in the painting of fabrics and acts as a precursor to many of Cowper's later paintings with their sumptuous depictions of embroidered backgrounds and clothes.

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