JAMES ARCHER | SIR LAUNCELOT AND QUEEN GUINEVERE
Property from a Private Florida Collection
1823 - 1904
SIR LAUNCELOT AND QUEEN GUINEVERE
oil on canvas
canvas: 26 by 19 ⅝ in.; 66 by 50 cm
framed: 30 5⁄8 by 24 1⁄4 in.; 77.8 by 61.6 cm
Oil on canvas, with an old lining. The surface is in generally good condition. Under UV light, a milky varnish obscures much of the picture plane, though there are some minor scattered retouches visible at upper right; along the horizon; a diagonal line of repair at the upper center edge; and additional small, scattered dots and dashes in the man's legs and in the woman. Some additional minor dashes of reinforcement visible in the grass along the lower edge.
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Sale: Christie's, London, December 14, 2016, lot 31, illustrated
Acquired at the above sale
(Possibly) Art Journal, 1871, p. 99.
Christine Poulson, The Quest for the Grail: Arthurian Legend in British Art 1840-1920, Manchester and New York, 1999, p. 57, illustrated p. 58
The epic stories of Arthurian legend were a favored subject for James Archer, his contemporary British artists, and their patrons. While the present lot may relate to a larger composition of the same title that Archer exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864, The Meeting of Launcelot and Guinevere (oil on canvas), he is perhaps best known for a series of four major works based on the legend of King Arthur, painted between 1861 and 1868:
La Morte d'Arthur (fig. 1; 1861, Manchester City Art Gallery);
King Arthur obtains the mystic sword Excalibur (1862, Private Collection);
The Sancgreall, King Arthur healed of his grievous wound (1863, Private Collection):
The Funeral of Queen Guinevere (1868, Private Collection).