Lot 55
  • 55

John William Godward, R.B.A.

400,000 - 600,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • John William Godward, R.B.A.
  • In the Tepidarium
  • signed J.W. Godward and dated 1913 (upper right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 38½ by 19 in.
  • 98.5 by 48.5 cm


Lt. Col. J.A.C. Younger (and sold: Sotheby's, London, March 3, 1948, lot 64)
Rayner MacConnel, London
M. Newman Ltd., London
Bearnes and Waycotts, Torquay, Devon, October 31, 1984, lot 324
Richard Green, London


London, The Fine Art Society, October, 1988


Vern Swanson, John William Godward, The Eclipse of Classicism, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1997, p. 233, no. 6, illustrated pl. 83 and pl. 55


The following condition report was kindly provided by Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.: This painting is in excellent condition. The canvas is unlined and still on its original stretcher. The paint layer is stable, clean and lightly varnished. The varnish could be slightly stronger. At the bottom of the curtain in the upper left there is a small spot which needs to be retouched. There are a few tiny retouches in a dozen or so spots in the figure, but this is clearly a painting is lovely condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

After winning a gold medal at the Rome Internationale exhibition in 1913, the year that the present work was painted, Godward's creative output was swiftly invigorated. In the Tepidarium, demonstrates all of his iconic strengths: exacting renderings of various marble slabs, drapery studies in translucent hues, and a careful and reverent depiction of a single female model.

Undraped nudes are rare in Godward's oeuvre. In this exceptional example, the delicate flesh tones are offset against a virtuoso display of technique in saturated gemstone-like colors. Evidence of his skill as a draftsman is everywhere, but notably in the lines of the receding and uneven tesserae. Godward was interested in classical settings and the tepidarium, one of the three rooms in the roman baths, excuses the model's nude state. Bathers would usually enter into the baths through the tepidarium, which was warmed through radiant heat beneath the fine marble floors and walls before proceeding to the caladaria and frigidarium, respectively, the hot and cold baths.