The Victorian and Edwardian era was one of the most fascinating periods in art history and one of the most diverse. This sale in particular presents the best of the varying styles and schools of artists, from PreRaphaelitism in the mid nineteenth century to the work of the Newlyn artists and their followers in the early twentieth century. Many of the pictures have not been seen in public for many decades, including an exquisite charcoal drawing by John William Waterhouse entitled Flora made in preparation for his large painting Flora and the Zephyrs.
Unknown to modern biographers having been in a private collection for almost half a century, this drawing has a timeless intensity. This is one of a strong group of Pre-Raphaelite works by Rossetti, Millais, Stillman and Watts, which also includes a dramatic coloured chalk drawing by Dante Gabriel Rossetti of his model Alexa Wilding and a delicate portrait by George Frederick Watts of his adopted daughter Blanche.
The perennial favourite John Atkinson Grimshaw is represented in the sale by seven paintings, including views near Pontefract, Scarborough and the suburbs of Leeds that the artist loved to paint under the subdued light of autumnal evenings. A similar attention to detail and interest in lighting effects can be seen in a rare work by William James Blacklock, Esthwaite Lake and the Langdale Pikes.
A painting that captures the industrious spirit of the Victorian age is William Logsdail's Bank and the Royal Exchange painted in 1887 a bustling sunlit image of the expanding city of London when it was the heart of the Empire.