143
143
George Richmond, R.A.
THE WITCH
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 106,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
143
George Richmond, R.A.
THE WITCH
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 106,250 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

A Private View: Property from the Country Home of Christopher Cone and Stanley J. Seeger

|
London

George Richmond, R.A.
BROMPTON 1809 - 1896 LONDON
THE WITCH
inscribed on the reverse of the card Geo Richmond pinxt / exhibited at The Royal Academy / Somerset House in 1830
mixed media on paper, laid on card
10.8 by 13.4cm., 4¼ by 5¼in.
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Provenance

By descent within the artist's family until his great-great granddaughter;
her sale, London, Sotheby's, 4 July 2001, lot 128 (£80,000)
with Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London
by whom sold to the present owner

Exhibited

London, Royal Academy, 1830, no. 458

Literature

R. Lister, George Richmond, A Critical Biography, London, 1981, pp. 21, 129-130, pl. IX, no. 19

Catalogue Note

George Richmond’s painting illustrates the witch Maudlin from Ben Jonson’s unfinished play The Sad Shepherd or A Tale of Robin Hood, first published in the folio of 1641. In Jonson’s tale, Robin Hood invited the shepherds and shepherdesses of the Vale of Belvoir to a feast in Sherwood Forest. The evil witch Maudlin, however, assumed the guise of Maid Marion and caused much confusion, abusing Robin Hood and sending away the venison that had been prepared for the feast. These acts and her other malicious deeds were discovered and she was then pursued by huntsmen.

Richmond chose a moment when the witch sits in the forest myopically reading a book by the light of a glow-worm. Beyond, through the trees of the forest are distant mountains with a dramatic sunset. Around her are several fairies, goblins and an owl, and hovering in front of her appears to be the Puck-hairy, her demon spirit, whose words from the play explained his role:

This Dame of mine here, Maid, growes high in evill
And thinkes shee doe’s all, when ‘tis I, her Divell That both delude her, and must yet protect her…

George Richmond enjoyed a sparkling career as a portrait painter and could count amongst his sitters some of the most notable names in Victorian England. As a young man, however, he had been far from conventional and during the late 1820s and early 1830s he associated himself with a small group of artists, including Samuel Palmer (see lot 5), who were known as the ‘Ancients’ and were heavily influenced by William Blake.

The present work, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1830 and descended within the artist’s family until 2001, is a particularly rare and intense image from this important period.

A Private View: Property from the Country Home of Christopher Cone and Stanley J. Seeger

|
London