1840 - 1905
DAMON AND AGLAE
oil on canvas
36 by 24 in.
91.4 by 61 cm
Lined. The surface presents well. There are a few isolated pin dots of accretion. A horizontal stretcher bar mark is visible across the width of the painting underneath the male figure's elbow; and there is faint craquelure visible between the figure's profiles. Under UV: there are scattered, small dashes of retouching visible on and in between the figure's heads, with some old inpainting to address prior craquelure is visible on the woman's neck. There are small areas inpainting on the man's proper left wrist and upper arm, the woman's proper right arm, and woman's skirt at lower left; and at center to address the aforementioned stretcher bar mark. Finely applied dots of retouching are visible on the figures' costumes.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Alexander Henderson, Lord Faringdon, Buscot Park, Oxfordshire (until circa 1930, attributed to Dante Gabriel Rossetti)
Sale: Sotheby's, London, October 24, 1978, lot 11, illustrated
London, Royal Academy, 1866, no. 555
Simon Reynolds, The Vision of Simeon Solomon, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 1984, p. 25
Gayle Marie Seymour, "The Life and Work of Simeon Solomon (1840-1905)," Ph.D. dissertation, University of California Santa Barbara, 1986, p. 121-22, illustrated p. 353
Thaïs E. Morgan, "Perverse Male Bodies: Simeon Solomon and Algernon Charles Swinburne," Outlooks: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities and Visual Cultures, Peter Horne and Reina Lewis, eds., London, 1996, n.p.
Colin Cruise, Love Revealed: Simeon Solomon and the Pre-Raphaelites, Birmingham, 2005, p. 184
Simeon Solomon, an English painter of Jewish descent who associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, found inspiration for his oeuvre in mythology and the classical world. Damon and Aglae is charged with emotion between two lovers, but the narrative is not explicit and the names of the figures, though inspired from Antiquity, do not point to a clear story. The background is indistinct and fades away in contrast to the intense red and orange of the lovers’ costumes, placing the focus on their embrace and the tension in this moment.
When Damon and Aglae was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1866, it was accompanied by a poem by the controversial lyric poet and Aesthete Algernon Charles Swinburne. The poem, entitled Erotion, spoke of the transience of human love and was partially published in the Royal Academy exhibition catalogue alongside the painting:
'Sweet for a little even to fear, and sweet,
love, to lay down fear at love’s fair feet;
shall not some fiery memory of his breath
Lie sweet on lips that touch the lips of death?
Yet leave me not; yet, if thou wilt, be free;
Love me not more, but love my love of thee.
Love where thou wilt, and live thy life; and I,
One thing I can, and one love cannot—die.'