Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art


To view the results of our most recent July sale please click here.

Sotheby’s Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art Department brings together the finest drawings, watercolours and oil paintings from a wide selection of artists from the mid-19th century to the early 20th. Our long-standing relationships with collectors and specialists, together with our knowledge and experience have resulted in high-profile international auctions and world-record achievements.

Sotheby’s has dominated the Victorian market in recent years, achieving the two highest prices at auction for Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s The Finding of Moses, which sold for almost $36 million, more than ten times its pre-sale estimate, and Alma-Tadema’s Antony and Cleopatra, which sold for just over $29 million. In addition, record breaking prices have been achieved for Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s chalk drawing Proserpine (£3,274,500) and watercolour Venus Verticordia (£2,882,500). We are also proud to hold record breaking results for British Impressionist artists Philip Wilson Steer, Dame Laura Knight, Sir Alfred Munnings and Sir George Clausen.

Sotheby’s sales continue to reflect the strong interest in works by British artists, with established collectors competing with new buyers and bidders from all four corners of the globe. Our sale on 12 July this year included many rediscoveries and the excitement this generated created strong bidding, resulting in many of the lots selling for above their high estimates. John William Waterhouse’ beautiful The Siren sold for £3,835,800 (estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000) whilst Simeon Solomon’s magnificent and important oil painting Habet! In the Coliseum sold for £370,000 (estimate £300,000-500,000) equaling the auction record for the artist, whose watercolour Bacchus also made a high price at £237,500 (estimate £60,000-80,000) and In the Summer Twilight made £137,500 (estimate £30,000-50,000). Dame Laura Knight’s famous painting The Ballet Girl and the Dressmaker was offered at auction for the first time, having been painted in 1930 and remaining in the same collection ever since – it sold for £322,000 (estimate £100,000-150,000). Another important painting by Knight, entitled Motley and depicting another ballet scene, will be offered from the same collection in our forthcoming sale in December this year.

Sotheby’s Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art are held twice a year in London in July and December.

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If you wish to enquire about the possibility of offering a work in one of Sotheby's Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art sales, please click here.

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Featured Stories & Videos


  • Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art
    Simon Toll
    Senior Director | Head of Department
  • Irish Art
    Charlie Minter
    Deputy Director | Specialist
  • Scottish Art
    Thomas Podd
  • Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art
    Amy Preston

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