Property from a Beverly Hills Collection
FREDERICK WILLIAM DAVIS
1862 - 1919
THE PENANCE OF THE DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER
signed F.W. Davis and dated 1902 (lower left)
oil on canvas
34 by 62½ in.
86.4 by 158.8 cm
Original unlined condition. The work presents very well with bright colors. There are scattered areas of barely perceptible, fine craquelure. There are a few 1 inch wide losses visible in current framing along the left edge, with a small associated area of lifting at upper left. There is frame abrasion along the right edge (partially visible in current framing). Under UV: varnish fluoresces green unevenly. There is brushy inpainting along the left edge. Additionally, there is a small area of inpainting above the head of one of the men at upper left; and a very few additional sparse, small retouches in the lower half of the composition and on the wall at upper center. Ready to hang in its current state.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Harry Lucas, Esq. (by 1928)
Sale: Christie's, London, November 29, 1985, lot 86, illustrated
Joseph Hill and William Midgley, The History of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, Birmingham, 1928, n.p., illustrated pl. 47
The present lot depicts the penance of the beautiful and ambitious Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, which took place in 1441. Eleanor was the second wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the youngest son of King Henry IV of England and the brother of Henry V. After the deaths of his father and brother, the Duke of Gloucester became Lord Protector to his young nephew King Henry VI and eventually the heir presumptive to the English throne. In an attempt to retain power for her husband the Duke, Eleanor summoned two astrologers to divine the future, resulting in a prediction of King Henry VI’s untimely death and the Duke’s subsequent rise to the throne. The astrologers were charged with treason by necromancy, and Eleanor was named as their instigator and convicted of sorcery. Her punishment before her imprisonment was a public penance throughout London, and she was forced to walk bareheaded and in plain clothes carrying a wax taper.