View full screen - View 1 of Lot 57. Sketch for the Frieze of Music.
57

Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S

Sketch for the Frieze of Music

Estimate:

15,000

to
- 25,000 GBP

Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S

Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S

Sketch for the Frieze of Music

Sketch for the Frieze of Music

Estimate:

15,000

to
- 25,000 GBP

Lot sold:

18,900

GBP

Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S

1830 - 1896

Sketch for the Frieze of Music


oil on canvas, in original frame

8 x 45 cm.

The canvas is unlined and the work is in very good condition and ready to hang. UNDER ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT No obvious signs of retouching.


"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."

James Stewart Hodgson (1827-1899);
Agatha, Marchioness of Sligo (1866-1965).
L. Ormond and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, 1975, p. 167, cat.no. 310.
London, Royal Academy, Winter Exhibition, 1897, no. 195, lent by Mr J. Stewart Hodgson.

James Stewart Hodgson met Leighton in the late 1850s, when they were fellow-members of the Hogarth Club, a convivial meeting place for professional painters and architects as well as amateurs and enthusiasts. Shortly after their first meeting Stewart Hodgson began to buy paintings from Leighton. When Leighton exhibited his highly-influential Lieder ohne Worte (Tate) at the Royal Academy in 1861, it was probably already in the collection of Stewart Hodgson and only a year later it was joined by Sisters (private collection). However it was Stewart Hodgson’s purchase of Leighton’s largest canvas, The Daphnephoria (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight) that was the patron’s greatest sign of appreciation of the artist’s work. This was a painting that had taken Leighton over two years to paint in the 1870s and is one of the most remarkable paintings of the Victorian period. Stewart Hodgson had been made partner in the London banking firm Barings and became remarkably prosperous. Leighton encouraged him to become a patron of the arts and recommend that he buy paintings by contemporary artists such as George Heming Mason, Giovanni Costa, William Blake Richmond and W.E.F. Britten. From Leighton he commissioned family portraits, including a portrait of his three-year old daughter Ruth in 1877 (private collection), followed in 1888 by a portrait of his other two daughters Mary Caroline Seymour Hughes and Agatha Ulick Browne, thought to have been painted to celebrate their recent marriages (private collection).


The Stewart Hodgsons had a red brick country house designed by Frederick Pepys Cockerell in Tudor style called Lythe Hill, near Haslemere on the North Downs, where The Daphnephoria hung and where William Blake Richmond made a full-size fresco in plaster The Duties of Women. Cockerell also designed a Queen Anne style a townhouse 1-2 South Audley Street in Mayfair, for Stewart Hodgson. Both houses were incomplete at the time of Cockerell’s death in 1878 and therefore completed by George Aitchison who had famously designed Leighton’s home and studio on Melbury Road. It was for the London house that Stewart Hodgson and Aitchison commissioned Leighton to paint two large pictures as part of a decorative scheme for the drawing room which also had six mosaic panels by Walter Crane who had worked on the decoration for Leighton’s home with Aitchison. The present picture is a sketch for one of the two decorative friezes Music and The Dance (both now at Leighton House Museum), painted so that the artist could balance his colour scheme and perhaps to demonstrate to the patron what the final picture might look like. The frieze format of Music and The Dance was influenced by Classical sculpture, particularly the Parthenon frieze. It was a format that Leighton used to great effect in The Syracusan Bride (private collection), Captive Andromache (Manchester City Art Gallery) and most relevantly The Daphnephoria. Although Leighton committed to painting the two large friezes (each of the same colossal dimensions as The Daphnephoria) he struggled to balance other projects to complete them; in an undated letter he wrote ‘I write to throw myself on your mercy - I have no excuse - a promise is a promise & you can keep me to it if you desire - I can by dropping everything else do your frieze this summer - it is designed & begun on canvas’ (Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea archive). They were eventually completed and installed by 1884.


Stewart Hodgson’s wealth was lost by the disastrous Barings crash of 1890 when the bank had unwisely speculated in South America and Russia. The bank was saved by the Governor of the Bank of England but the partners were held liable for all the debts and despite being least responsible of the partners Stewart Hodgson was nevertheless plunged from his riches into relative poverty. Three years later, in June 1893, Hodgson sold the subject paintings by Leighton in his collection– including The Daphnephoria and Lieder ohne Worte, but managed to retain the two portraits of his three daughters and the three oil sketches included in this sale which had been given to him as gifts and therefore were perhaps deemed too personal to be sold.