George Dunlop Leslie, R.A.
- George Dunlop Leslie, R.A.
- signed with monogram and dated 1859 l.r.; further signed and inscribed with the artist's address on the reverse
- oil on canvas
Christie's, 23 April 1937 to 'Fasey';
Fine Art Society, London where purchased by a private collector;
Christie's, 10 June 2003, lot 103, where purchased by the present owner
Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1905, no.421
Cosmo Monkhouse, 'A Pre-Raphaelite Collection', in Magazine of Art, 1883, p.66, illustrated p.69;
Percy Bate, The English Pre-Raphaelite Painters, 1899, illustrated facing p.90
Singing and culling flower after flower,
Wherewith her pathway was all painted o'er.'
Dante, Purgatorio, Canto 28
Dante's Matilda (Matelda) is usually identified with Matilda, Countess of Tuscany (1046-1115) of the house of Canossa. Leslie depicted her gathering flowers in a beautiful landscape, watched in the distance by Dante, Virgil and Statius. When it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1860 it was accompanied by a quotation from Psalms; 'For thou, Lord, hast made me glad through thy work; I will triumph in the works of thy hands' (Psalm XCII, 4) The review by Tom Taylor in Times described it as 'a lady reclining in a green garden on the edge of a pool starred with water lilies' and celebrated the 'power of faithful landscape painting and a thoughtful and graceful feeling for female form and character, which promise well for this young painter's future.' It was bought from the artist by John Hamilton Trist (1811-1891) a wine-merchant from Brighton who owned a fine collection of modern paintings, including examples by Albert Moore, Rossetti, Alma-Tadema and Leighton with a particular taste for the work of Arthur Hughes (he owned twenty examples).