The only known head study for one of the most famous masterpieces of the 19th century, the pencil and white chalk study for Frederic, Lord Leighton’s Flaming June, sold to an American private collector for £167,000, an auction record for a work on paper by the artist and four times over the pre-sale low estimate (£40,000-60,000). Various museums possess studies for the draperies in Flaming June, for the nude figure and for the overall composition, but this unique head study was only known from an illustration in the Magazine of Art of 1895. It was rediscovered hanging discreetly on a bedroom wall at West Horsley Place, the 400-acre Surrey estate that was home to the late Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, by Sotheby’s Victorian Art specialist Simon Toll.
Our Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art sale, which brought a total of £4,667,625 (above the pre-sale high estimate), also featured Leighton’s oil painting Catarina, another re-discovery, which sold to an UK private collector for £233,000 against a pre-sale estimate of £100,000-150,000. Elsewhere in the sale, Sir John Everett Millais’ Original Study for ‘A Huguenot’ sold for £90,000, an auction record for a work on paper by the artist; Philip Alexius de László’s stunning full-length portrait sold for another auction record at £122,500 and Alfred Munnings’ beautiful September Afternoon sold for £581,000.
Our 15 July sale features a wonderful selection of paintings, watercolours and drawings that illustrate the strength and breadth of British art from the 19th century to early 20th century. Many of the works consigned to this sale come from private collections and haven’t been seen on the art market for decades.
The Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art sale includes an important rediscovery of the only known head study for Leighton’s famous Flaming June and a preliminary drawing for Millais’ Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece A Huguenot. There are also fine examples of the work of John Atkinson Grimshaw, Edward John Poynter, John William Godward and Sir Alfred Munnings and a particularly strong selection of paintings by the British Impressionists, Sir George Clausen, Stanhope Forbes and Harold Harvey. We hope you will be able to join us for the presale exhibition.