Two Large Oils Circle of Vernet Leads Sale

5/03/2021     News Stories & Press Release, Old Master & 19th Century Pictures

Roseberys is pleased to be offering yet another strong and varied Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures sale to the market on Tuesday 23rd March.

Marcus Grey, Head of the pictures department comments ‘The highlights of the sale include a pair of capriccio scenes considered to have been completed in the circle of Claude-Joseph Vernet. These landscapes are unique examples rarely seen on the market and are in very good condition considering the age and scale. The auction will also be offering a rare and large-scale lithograph by David Roberts RA, depicting The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem, again this signed print is scarcely seen on the market. Two portraits from the Studio of Sir Peter Lely will also be auctioned, these beautifully conserved portraits depicting known sitters; Elizabeth Willoughby, Countess of Ranelagh and Lady Francklin of Bedfordshire, are typical of the studio’s style. Furthermore, we have a selection of charming little Dutch early 17th century portraits and genre scenes, including incredible portrait works by Van der Merck.’


Circle of Claude-Joseph Vernet, French 1714-1789- Capriccios of fisherfolk unloading their catch on the shores of a harbour with shipping, fortified promontories and woodland; oil on canvas

Entered onto the market at £15,000- £20,000 is lot 52. The pair of large oils (each measuring 225x335cm) in the circle of French artist Claude-Joseph Vernet, 1714-1789. The pair of oils both depict a capriccio of fisherfolk unloading their catch on the shores of a harbour with shipping, fortified promontories and woodland. These large landscapes follow a similar style and format to Joseph Claude Vernet’s pair of canvases produced during the second half of the 18th century. Vernet was renowned for his Mediterranean harbour scenes, particularly after he was commissioned to produce large scale topographical views of the Ports of France for Louis XV. Between 1753 and 1765 Vernet completed 15 of the 24 compositions all depicting the major military and commercial ports around the French coast. These tranquil settings were increasingly sought after during the late 18th and early 19th centuries so to adorn the walls of large houses across Europe. The setting was to portray a simple way of life with views of Italian inspired landscapes set against a sunset or sunrise on the horizon, giving an overall notion of Arcadia. Interestingly, there is an amalgamation of styles and themes within the present landscapes; the Italian feeling, along with the hints of classically inspired architecture, coincides with the northern European naturalism used in the portrayal of the figures - a theme also seen in Vernet’s depictions. The overall effect is a peaceful vista in which the figures contribute to the scene and do not detract or pull focus from the form of the overall composition.

Studio of Sir Peter Lely, British 1618-1680- Portrait of Elizabeth Willoughby, Countess of Ranelagh (c.1633-1695), seated full-length in a landscape, circa 1660; oil on canvas

Leading the portrait highlights within the sale is lot 55, which is estimated to make £5,000- £8,000. Lot 55 is an oil portrait is of Elizabeth Willoughby, Countess of Ranelagh (c.1633-1695), circa 1660, by the studio of British artist Sir Peter Lely, 1618-1680. Sir Peter Lely was arguably the most fashionable portrait painter of his day. It was in this capacity that he depicted many of the key figures of mid-seventeenth-century England, including Charles I, Charles II, and Oliver Cromwell. Lely’s work shows the influence of a number of contemporaries, most notably his predecessor as court painter, Anthony van Dyck. Lely was known for being heavy reliant on his workshop. Many of his works were painted, in large part by his studio assistants, with Lely himself painting the sitter’s face, or adding final details to the piece. The National Portrait Gallery exhibition catalogue (Oliver Miller, 1978) notes that ‘...from the later 1660s his [Lely's] colours becomes less bright and his paint thinner and drier… At the same time the drawing of the draperies became more formalized, as if to make them easier for a pupil to copy. Some of the latest portraits are almost monochrome, the dragged paint, often over darkish underpaint, and sombre colour imparting a richly atmospheric effect, enlivened by touches of liquid impasto which display the mastery of touch unimpaired by thirty years of unremitting work’ (p.20-1). These features in Lely's later works are possibly beginning to appear at the stage the present portrait was executed by his studio.


Thomas Lawrence Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA, British 1769-1830- Study of a boy; pencil on blue-grey paper, signed and dated aug 1791

Lot 81 Study of a boy; by British artist Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA, 1769-1830 is offered to the market with an estimate of £3,000 - £4,000. The pencil on blue-grey paper, signed and dated August 1791, comes with a provenance from Professor Bengt Broms, Helsinki, by 1972; Sotheby's, London, 26th November 2020, lot 200. Lawrence completed a number of portraits of prominent contemporary figures, including members of the royal family, and enjoyed the patronage of the George IV as Prince Regent. He also painted the Duke of Wellington, Pope Pius VII, and Tsar Alexander I of Russia.


Attributed to William Huggins, British 1820-1884- Portrait of a Young Girl; oil on canvas

Attributed to British artist William Huggins, 1820-1884, is lot 148 Portrait of a Young Girl. Huggins was an eccentric artist from Liverpool, working after the heyday of George Stubbs. Portraits appear occasionally in Huggins’ exhibition records. As part of his last exhibition at the Liverpool Academy in 1865, he showcased a work entitled ‘Little Daisy, a Portrait’ (No.1057). It is likely that the present work is this Liverpool Academy portrait. The oil on canvas, is estimated to make £3,000- £5,000.


Attributed to William Huggins, British 1820-1884- A Lion and a Serpent; oil on panel

Another work Attributed to William Huggins, is lot 147, an oil on panel titled A Lion and a Serpent. Depictions of lions and exotic animals was a theme visited often during Huggins's artistic career. The present work, showing a lion confronting a serpent, is typical of the artist's early style. Huggins would often sketch animals from life and would visit Liverpool Zoo, as well as Wombwell’s Travelling Menagerie, to study these exotic animals. This oil has been entered onto the market with a lower estimate of £1000-1500. There are four lots in total, within the sale, by Huggins - lots 147-150.



After David Roberts RA, Scottish 1796-1864- The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70; lithograph printed in colours with touches of hand-colouring

Lot 133, a lithograph after Scottish artist David Roberts RA, 1796-1864 comes with an estimate of £2,000- £3,000. The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70; is a lithograph printed in colours with touches of hand-colouring, signed by the engraver and artist in pencil, engraved by Louis Haghe, pub. by Hering & Remington, London, 1850-51. This lithograph is after the original oil painting by David Roberts, exhibited at the R.A. in 1849, no. 290. Roberts had toured England and Wales for a year to raise subscriptions for the print which, at 69.5 by 107cms was one of the largest yet made, an impressive feat of colour printing that involved the use of multiple stones. Roberts turned to Haghe to produce the print of his painting, and the present work is one of the original versions. This is a rare example to the market with not many versions being made.

 dogs oil

Richard Ansdell RA, British 1815-1885- Family scene with hunters and pet dogs; oil on canvas

Estimated to make £4000-6000 is a wonderful family scene with hunters and pet dogs. The oil on canvas (lot 144) is by British artist Richard Ansdell RA, 1815-1885 and comes with a provenance from Christie's, London, 29th July 2020, lot 109. Richard Ansdell was a nineteenth-century British painter of animals and genre scenes who studied at the Liverpool Academy. Ansdell’s work was exhibited at the Royal Academy every year between 1840 and 1885, amounting to a total of 149 canvases. 30 of his works were shown at the British Institution, and the exhibition of two works earned him a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1855.

 rossiAlexander Mark Rossi, British 1840-1916- The Limpets; oil on canvas

Offered to the market at £2,500- £3,500 is work by British artist Alexander Mark Rossi, 1840-1916, lot 197. Titled, The Limpets; the signed oil on canvas comes with a provenance from the The Oriel Gallery Limited, in Dublin, according to the label attached to the reverse of the frame; Sotheby’s, London, 2nd December 2020, lot 164. Born on the Greek Island of Corfu, Rossi moved to the UK in 1866. Between 1871 and 1903, Rossi exhibited 66 works at the Royal Academy and was also a member of the Hogarth Club. Many of his paintings were of children and young adults, the models often being members of his own family.

Edward Coley Burne JonesSir Edward Coley Burne-Jones Bt. ARA RWS, British 1833-1898- A Lakeside Castle at Sunset; watercolour and gouache

The final highlight of the auction is lot 172 work by British artist Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones Bt. ARA RWS. Titled A Lakeside Castle at Sunset, the watercolour and gouache is estimated to make between £5,000- £7,000. It comes with a provenance with Maas Gallery, London, according to the label attached to the reverse. From the 1870s onwards, Burne-Jones had an established method in the development towards a final painting. Beginning with rough exploratory sketches, he would gradually define his compositions through multiple individual sketches, isolating every detail within the scene and experimenting with various designs until he was completely satisfied with the final result. The present work is likely to be an example of one of Burne-Jones's preparatory sketches - a background detail to a larger composition - using his typical rich primary colour palette seen in so many of his watercolour compositions. Influenced by the Italian masters of the Renaissance, combined with his ability to portray emotion and expression in his figures, Burne-Jones stands as one of the leading artists of his generation; a principal contributor to the Aesthetic movement, responsible for the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained-glass art in Britain, and a key figure in nineteenth century British art.


Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures: Live online only auction 
Tuesday 23 March, staring at 11am   

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