Lot 46
  • 46

John William Godward, R.B.A.

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • John William Godward, R.B.A.
  • A Priestess of Bacchus
  • signed and dated u.r.: J.W.Godward. 1890.
  • oil on canvas
  • 29 by 45cm., 11½ by 17¾in.


Thomas McLean, London (Godward's agent), 1890, for £25;
George James, London, by whom sold Christie's, London, 10 April 1897, lot 105 as Bacchante Resting for £97.14s to Arthur Tooth & Sons, London;
Sotheby's, Belgravia, 22 February 1972, lot 163 as On the Terrace, to Edward Crawshaw, London, by whom sold to Peter Child, London, in the same year, by whom sold Sotheby's, Belgravia, 23 June 1981, lot 38, where purchased by the present owner


Vern Swanson, John William Godward - The Eclipse of Classicism, 1997, p.178, cat.no.1890.11, illustrated p.40, colour plate 10

Catalogue Note

Brilliant sunlight bathes the terrace of a high vantage above a calm and azure-blue ocean, where a young girl is seated on a marble exedra, wreathed with ivy and dressed in a golden toga tied at the waist with a wine-coloured ribbon. In her hand she holds a thrysus - a wand made from the branch of a giant fennel surmounted by a pinecone, the symbol of the Bacchantes, followers of the Roman God of Wine. She is exhausted by the dancing that accompanied the festivities of the Bacchanalia and perhaps also intoxicated by the wine. For a moment she rests in the sunshine and smiles beguilingly at the spectator as though greeting a lover. Roses and white doves - the symbols of Venus - add to the romance of the scene in which lovers are walking arm in arm down the steep flight of marble stairs.