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WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT, OM, DCL, DESIGN, ADAPTED BY FREDERIC GEORGE STEPHENS
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WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT, OM, DCL, DESIGN, ADAPTED BY FREDERIC GEORGE STEPHENS

FRAME FOR THE ENGRAVING OF THE FINDING OF THE SAVIOUR IN THE TEMPLE, CIRCA 1867

Details
WILLIAM HOLMAN HUNT, OM, DCL, DESIGN, ADAPTED BY FREDERIC GEORGE STEPHENS
FRAME FOR THE ENGRAVING OF THE FINDING OF THE SAVIOUR IN THE TEMPLE, CIRCA 1867
oak, carved and gilded
33 3/8 in. (84.8 cm.) high; 42¾ in. (108.6 cm.) wide
Literature
Frederic George Stephens, William Holman Hunt and his Works: A Memoir of the Artist's Life, with Description of his Pictures, London, 1860, pp. 78-9; James H. Coombs, Anne M. Scott, George P. Landow, Arnold A. Sanders (eds.), A Pre-Raphaelite Friendship: The Correspondence of William Holman Hunt and John Lucas Tupper, Michigan, 1986, p. 81; Judith Bronkhurst, William Holman Hunt: A Catalogue Raisonné, London, 2006, vol. II, p. 314 (painting and frame illustrated)
Special notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

This frame was designed for the engraving of The Finding of the Saviour in the Temple, which Ernest Gambart published in 1867. It was adapted from the frame of the painting, by Frederic George Stephens, a close friend of Hunt's and former studio assistant, who discussed the frame in a pamphlet of 1860.

When the oil painting went on view in London in the spring of 1860 the critic of the Manchester Guardian noted that 'the symbols have overflowed the picture, and expended themselves all over the frame'. The frame for the engraving is less elaborate than that of the painting, but both include the crescent moon and blazing sun carved in the centre of the top rail to suggest the passing of the Old (Testament) Dispensation and the resplendent New Dispensation of Christ. Both also include in the top left-hand corner a snake entwined around a cross, alluding to the brazen serpent of Mosaic law (Numbers 21: 8-9). At the time this would have been interpreted as a type (or prefiguring) of the Crucixion.

The carver of the frame is unrecorded, but it is almost certainly an employee of the firm of Joseph Green, who was responsible for the frame for the painting.

Christie's wishes to thank Judith Bronkhurst for her assistance with this lot.

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