Lot 9
  • 9


80,000 - 120,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • John Roddam Spencer Stanhope
  • In Memoriam
  • signed with initials on the stone seat; JRSS; titled and signed on an old label attached to the reverse; In Memoriam/ by/ J.R. Spencer Stanhope/ Florence
  • oil on panel
  • 127 by 112cm., 50 by 44in.


Galerie Hasenclever, Munich, where purchased in the 1970s by a private collector and thence by descent


Elaine Shefer, ‘The Bird in the Cage’ in The Journal of the History of Sexuality, 1991, p.475;
Elise Lawton Smith, Evelyn Pickering de Morgan and the Allegorical Body, 2002, p.231


The following condition report was prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd; UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE Structural Condition The artist's panel which has a slightly convex profile has a heavy cradling on the reverse. There are several open splits running horizontally through the centre of the panel including one which extends the full width of the composition. The panel requires structural intervention. Paint Surface The paint surface has a relatively even varnish layer. There are small paint losses associated to the various splits running through the centre of the composition. Inspection under ultraviolet light shows scattered retouchings, including: 1) two retouchings on the sitter's neck and very small scattered spots and lines on her hair and left ear and a few minute flecks on her face, 2) very small scattered spots within the foliage and the wall in the upper part of the composition and some further retouchings within the trunk and branch of the tree in the upper right corner, 3) small retouchings where the sitter's clothing meets her leg and some further tiny spots within the red fabric of her clothing including the red tie, and 4) small spots and lines of retouchings within the foreground. It should be noted that aside from the two retouchings on the sitter's neck, the inpainting is all of minimal size and has been very carefully applied. There are also scattered areas of yellow fluorescence throughout the composition. These would appear to be attributable to the artist's materials and techniques. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in fairly good condition and would benefit from the treatment of the various splits and from infilling and retouching the associated lines of paint loss.
"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

Stanhope was a second generation Pre-Raphaelite, drawing inspiration particularly from Edward Burne-Jones, who, though two years Stanhope’s junior, proved to be the most significant influence on his work. The admiration was mutual, Burne-Jones writing that, “[Stanhope’s] colour is beyond anything the finest in Europe” (Burne-Jones quoted in John Christian ed., The Last Romantics, 1989, p.79). In Memorial is a re-discovery only known from a description; ‘a beautiful study of a very sweet and pathetic expression.’ (Elise Lawton Smith, Evelyn Pickering de Morgan and the Allegorical Body, 2002, p.231). The sentiment echoes a subject painted by Millais in 1883, Dropped from the Nest (Christies, London, 2 May 2013, lot 213) whilst the dry leaves and wicker basket are reminiscent of Millais’ famous Autumn Leaves of 1856 (Manchester City Art Gallery). The melancholic subject of the girl grieving for the dead skylark that she has found while clearing fallen leaves is emphasised by the autumnal leaves signifying the passing of the year. Whether there is any symbolic relevance to the anchors entwined by dolphins on the girl’s beautifully-painted blouse, is unclear but it may be meant to suggest that she has lost someone at sea. Stanhope’s painting may have been inspired by Tennyson’s poem In Memoriam, but the subject could equally have been inspired by an observed event or a more general notion of pathos. Stanhope’s niece Evelyn de Morgan painted a picture entitled In Memoriam, a much more classicised image (de Morgan Foundation).