Lot 3
  • 3

Arthur Melville, A.R.S.A., R.S.W. A.R.S.

6,000 - 8,000 GBP
16,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Arthur Melville, A.R.S.A., R.S.W. A.R.S.
  • Banderilles à cheval
  • signed, inscribed and dated l.l.: Arthur Melville Banderilles à cheval/ Seville 84
  • watercolour


Collection of the Duke of Atholl, Perthshire;
Christie's, Glasgow, 30 November 1982, lot 332;
Sotheby's, Gleneagles, 27 August 1985, lot 707


Agnes Ethel Mackay, Arthur Melville, Scottish Impressionist, Leigh-on-Sea, 1951, p.148, no.360, titled Bull Fight;
Kenneth McConkey and Charlotte Topsfield, Arthur Melville Adventures in Colour, exh.cat, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 2015, p.109

Catalogue Note

The present lot is the only known version of arguably Arthur Melville's most famous and celebrated picture The Little Bullfight, 'Bravo Toro' (1899, Victoria and Albert Museum, London). It is likely that when Melville came to paint his masterpiece he used this watercolour, painted five years earlier, as a starting point on which to build the detail and energy of Bravo Toro. Despite being less detailed the present work is still imbued with swirling colours and frenzied motion. The stands are steeped in shade contrasting dramatically with the white heat of the ring's drifting dust. The crowd melts together to create a sense of the thronging multitude, whilst punctuations of vivid colour give form to individual figures. The frenetic activity of the bullfight, so compellingly rendered in this work, captivated Melville and it is on this subject that he produced some of his most accomplished work.

We are grateful to Kenneth McConkey for his assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.