SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS | PORTRAIT OF A LADY, THREE-QUARTER LENGTH, WEARING AN ELABORATE BLACK DRESS AND CLOAK, BEFORE A RED DRAPE AND A DISTANT LANDSCAPE
Estimate: 2,500,000 - 3,500,000 GBP
SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS
Siegen 1577 - 1640 Antwerp
PORTRAIT OF A LADY, THREE-QUARTER LENGTH, WEARING AN ELABORATE BLACK DRESS AND CLOAK, BEFORE A RED DRAPE AND A DISTANT LANDSCAPE
oil on canvas
110.2 by 82 cm.; 43⅜ by 32¼ in.
The following condition report is provided by Hamish Dewar who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's:
Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of a lady, three-quarter length, wearing an elaborate black dress and cloak, before a red drape and a distant landscape
The canvas has been lined onto a keyed wooden stretcher with one horizontal and one vertical
cross baton. This is ensuring a sound and secure structural support. There is a pattern of fine
lines of drying craquelure which is stable and is not visually distracting.
The paint surface has an even varnish layer.
Inspection under ultraviolet light shows a number of retouchings, the most significant of which
1) a horizontal line, approximately 13 cm in length, which runs through the draperies behind
the sitter, through the sitter's hair and into the right side of the sitter's face.
2) Numerous fine lines of inpainting applied within the craquelure in the flesh tones.
3) Retouchings around the framing edges and in the draperies behind the sitter.
4) Several horizontal lines and other retouchings in the darker pigments of the sitter's costume,
just above the lower horizontal framing edge.
There are other scattered retouchings and there may be further retouchings that I could not
identify under ultraviolet light.
The painting would therefore appear to be in reasonably good and stable condition and no
further work is required. The extent of retouchings applied in the past should be noted.
"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."
Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro of Novar (1797–1864)
His deceased sale, London, Christie's, 1 June 1878, lot 93, for 1120 Guineas to Butler
Charles Butler, 3 Connaught Place, London
Thence by descent until sold, Leyburn, Tennants, 18 November 2017, lot 67
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Possibly the painting noted in Rubens' posthumous inventory, Specification des peintures trouvee dans la maison mortuaire de Rubens, no. 122 (‘un pourtrait d'une Damoiselle ayant les mains l'une sur l'autre’)
M. Rooses, L’Œuvre de P. P. Rubens , vol. 4, Antwerp 1890, p. 298, no. 1103 (as Rubens, ‘entirely by the hand of the master’)
A. Rosenberg (ed.), P. P. Rubens: des Meisters Gemälde in 551 Abbildungen. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben 5, Leipzig/Stuttgart 1905, pp. 289, 479 (as Rubens)
G. Gluck, ‘Review of Klassiker der Kunst ed. Rosenberg’, in Kunstgeschichtliche Anzeigen, II, 1905, pp. 60–61, no. 289 (from a photograph, as doubtful)
E. Verhaeren, Rubens, Leipzig 1913, p. 81, no. 55 (as Rubens)
R. Oldenbourg (ed.), P. P. Rubens, Des Meisters Gemälde. Klassiker der Kunst., 4th ed., Stuttgart 1921, p. 453 (from a photograph, as a presumed copy after a putative lost original)
G. Glück, Rubens, Van Dyck und ihr Kreis, Vienna 1933, p. 164
To be included in the fortchcoming volume of the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard: H. Vlieghe in K. Van der Stighelen, Portraits. III. Unidentified Sitters, expected early 2021 (See discussion below, underneath fig. 4)
London, Royal Academy, 1880, no. 81 (as Rubens, ‘The Painter’s Wife’)
London, Royal Academy, 1894, no. 67 (as Rubens, ‘Said to be the Sister of the Painter’s Wife’)
London, New Gallery, Winter Exhibition, 1899–1900 (as Rubens)
London, Royal Academy, 1902 (as Rubens)