Kathleen Newton in a Thames-Side Tavern
oil on panel
23 by 34cm., 9 by 13½in.
The panel appears sound and the work in good overall condition.
Ultraviolet light reveals some minor flecks of retouching along the left edge. Other areas fluoresce but these appear to relate to the varnish.
Held in a gilt plaster frame with a canvas inset.
"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."
Christie's, New York, 4 June 2009, lot 110, where purchased by Stan Battat
Shortly after his relocation to London in 1871, Tissot began a series of paintings depicting life beside the river Thames; figures waiting on jetties, boarding ships and sat in the shadowed interiors of taverns. The present study depicts a tavern on the Thames at Greenwich, with the Royal Hospital building seen through the window. The wooden chairs also appear in The Departure, the first picture in Tissot's series entitled The Prodigal Son. These rapidly-painted oil sketches were typical of Tissot's working practice, often made on small boards or canvases prepared with a red-brown ground. This carefully constructed setting serves as a theatrical backdrop for the personal subject matter, as Tissot muses upon his admiration for his lover Kathleen Newton who appears to be reading a letter, perhaps outloud to her male companion. As Malcolm Warner notes ‘In creating a body of work unified by the theme of England’s major river, he laid claim to a subject literally and figuratively at the heart of the country.’ (Malcolm Warner, James Tissot: Victorian Life/Modern Love, 1999, p61.)