Trio of striking female portraits set to shine

5/03/2019     News Stories & Press Release, Old Master & 19th Century Pictures

LONDON: Dazzling portraits of female subjects spanning two centuries of art history are primed to set pulses raising in a sale of Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures at Roseberys London.

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Estimated at £30,000-50,000 is an exquisite portrait by the famous German artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-73) (lot 188). Winterhalter’s masterly talent attracted the great and the good from around Europe, including Queen Victoria and Emperor Napoleon III. He was considered at his best as a painter of women, creating images of great elegance and sophistication - always showing his sitters in the best possible light. Polished, refined, and quietly stylish, the sitter in this attractive portrait (pictured above) is represented in three-quarter-length, wearing a white dress and holding a pair of lunettes in the artist’s preferred oval format. According to the label attached to the reverse of the frame, the sitter is identified as coming from the House of Aguado. Winterhalter is known to have painted several portraits of the Aguado family, including Claire-Emilie MacDonell (1817-1905) (who became Viscountess Aguado upon her marriage to Alexandre Aguado in early 1841) and her daughter Carmen Ida Aguado (1847-1880). The family were well connected: Viscountess Aguado was made lady-in-waiting to Eugenie de Montijo (1826-1920), the daughter of Prince Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte and the future Empress of France. It has also been suggested that the sitter might be the Grand Duchess Vera Konstantinovna of Russia (1854-1912). She was a granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I and first cousin of Tsar Alexander III of Russia who married the German prince, Duke of Eugen of Württemberg, in 1874.

A magnificent oil portrait of Mary of Modena, the second wife of James II, is estimated at £3,000-5,000 (lot 38). The picture (shown above middle) was produced in the studio of Simon Pietersz Verelst (1644-1710), a Dutch Golden Age painter of still lives and portraits who was widely patronised among the ladies in the court of Charles II. Numerous autograph versions of this composition are known including a c.1680 portrait recorded in the Royal Collection and two copy versions produced by the Italian painter Benedetto Gennari. The Italian-born Mary was a devout Roman Catholic who married the widowed James, Duke of York (then the younger brother and heir presumptive of Charles II) in 1673, at the age of 15. Uninterested in politics, Mary devoted her life to her husband and children, two of whom survived to adulthood – James Francis Edward and Louisa Marie Teresa, the Jacobite claimants to the thrones. Mary was painted by some of the greatest artists of the age, including Sir Peter Lely and William Wissing. 

The Young Singer is the title of a glorious painting by the Belgian artist Gustave Vanaise (1854-1902) depicting a full-length portrait of a red-headed girl holding a music book (lot 245). Vanaise majored on historical scenes and portraits, painting the bourgeoisie of Ghent and Brussels. He regularly portrayed his wife, Marie De Coster, in his works until her death in 1891. This picture (pictured above right) dates to 1897 and was purchased by the vendor in an exhibition of British and European paintings at Blanchards (in association with Waterhouse & Dodd), in c.1988-89. A copy of the catalogue will be included in the lot, which it estimated at £2,500-3,500.

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British Art

The auction contains several fine British pictures led by a striking Thomas Whitcombe (c.1763-1824) marine painting, estimated at £10,000-15,000 (lot 58). The oil on canvas, dated 1786, depicts a British Man-o-war in choppy seas below menacing skies and a white-cliffed headland beyond. The impressive vessel is possibly HMS Defiance, a 74-gun third rate Royal Navy ship that participated at the Battle of Trafalgar under the command of Captain Philip Charles Durham, who claimed she was the ‘fastest 74-gun ship in the British fleet’. She was captured by the Spanish San Juan Nepomuceno and later served as a prison ship at Chatham from 1813 until she was broken up in 1817. Whitcombe, a prominent British maritime painter, revelled in painting scenes connected to the Napoleonic Wars. Among his work are over 150 actions of the Royal Navy, and he exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution and the Royal Society of British Artists.

In contrast, a bucolic scene by George Morland (1763-1805) is estimated in the sale at £4,000-6,000 (lot 57). The oil, bearing an old gallery label dated to 1947, depicts a weary traveller and his family resting by a stream. By 1790, Morland's style had developed to suit his taste of painting English rural scenes. Thereafter, gypsies, shepherds and travellers resting and reposing in woodland and countryside scenes became a common theme for Morland. These were considered by Walter Gilbey to be some of Morland's best figural works. In Gilbey’s 1907 monograph on the painter, he wrote: '[o]f his human figures it may be said that the best are those painted in a restful attitude'. 

Fellow contemporary artist John Nost Sartorius (1759-c.1830) majored on horses, horse-racing and hunting scenes, and is considered the best-known and prolific of the Sartorius family of artists. He is represented in the sale by a trademark hunting scene of a sportsman with two dogs and his horse in a landscape (lot 54). The oil, dated 1805, carries an estimate of £4,000-6,000.


Venetian Art

Old and distinguished provenance comes with this Renaissance drawing depicting the Raising of Lazarus by the Venetian painter and printmaker Domenico Campagnola (1500-1564) (lot 73). According to old collector's stamps on the pen and brown ink work, its previous owners included J. Pz. Zoomer (1641-1724), a 17th century Dutch collector, dealer and artist, and possibly Dr Edward Peart (1756-1824), a collector of British works on paper. Some of the latter’s prints and drawings now form part of the collections at the British Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The  drawing is estimated at £4,000-6,000

An impressive biblical scene from the 18th century Venetian School ( Lot 6) carries a £3,000-4,000 estimate. The oil refers to Christ’s teachings on young children and bears a title from the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament – Suffer the Little Children to come unto Me.


Please find the information for our Old Masters highlights below.

Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures

Wednesday 20 March
Starting at 10 am
Catalogue now online


Viewing Times 
Friday 15 March: 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Sunday 17 March: 10.00 am – 2.00 pm
Monday 18 March: 9.30 am – 5.30 pm
Tuesday 19 March: 9.30 am -5.30 pm
Wednesday 20 March 9.00 am – 9.30 am


For further information please contact Peigi Mackillop +44 (0) 20 8761 2522




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