A Glimpse into a Private World: Property from a Hampstead Collection

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Beginning with the sale of Sir John Lavery’s The Summit of the Jungfrau in the Irish Art sale on 27 September, this charming private collection will be offered over a series of auctions until the end of the year, both in London and Hong Kong. Assembled and enjoyed over many years, Property From a Hampstead Collection is not only imbued with the personality of its owners but also with a sense of the place in which it was brought together, a beautiful house in this leafy and Bohemian corner of London. Click ahead to see a selection of highlights.

A Glimpse into a Private World: Property from a Hampstead Collection

  • Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., Portrait of a Lady with a Dog, Probably Lady Louisa Jane Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn (1812-1905). To be sold in Old Masters, London 7 December 2017.
    Historically thought to have been a portrait of Georgiana Russell, Duchess of Bedford (1781-1853), the artist’s reputed mistress and the wife of one of his most important patrons, this charming little sketch fits with a large group of such small scale oil sketches that Landseer painted in the late 1820s and early 1830s of members of the Russell and Hamilton family. The most likely sitter is Lady Louisa Jane Russell (1812-1905), the Duchess of Bedford’s second daughter, who in 1832 married James Hamilton, 2nd Marquess and later 1st Duke of Abercorn.

  • Sir John Lavery, The Summit of the Jungfrau, 1913. To be sold in Irish Art, London 27 September.
    Sir John Lavery and his family holidayed in Wengen in December 1912, which offered splendid view of the Jungfrau with her ‘dazzling shroud of eternal snow’. Lavery travelled up to Jungfraujoch station (completed in August 1912) with his painting kit and painted three works of the mountain, which were praised by contemporary reviewers for his power of realising time and place. In the present example , a small group of Alpinists can be seen making their ascent. With effortless brushwork, the lyrical curves lead the eye to the pinnacle and the painting as a whole exemplifies Lavery’s innate sense of design.

  • Xu Lei, Shattered Illusion, 1997. To be sold in Contemporary Ink Art, Hong Kong 2 October.
    The horse is a significant icon in Xu’s artistic lexicon, ranging from a delicate creature hiding behind sheer curtains to a virile beast exemplifying the power of Tang dynasty chargers. In Shattered Illusion , the horse is a metaphor of an unspoken Chinese literary tradition: the shadow of a white horse across a crevice symbolises the passing of time. As the white horse peers into a room with two empty chairs—alluding to the absence or recent presence of another protagonist—Xu’s lyrical depiction draws the viewer into a mysterious realm that conveys a transcendence of time and space.

  • A Tibetan gilt-bronze portrait of the fifth Shamarpa, Könchok Yenlak, 16th–17th century. To be sold in The Heart of Tantra – Buddhist Art, Hong Kong 3 October.
    This beautiful bronze sculpture is a portrait of a lama seated cross-legged on a rounded lotus throne dating to the 16th–17th century. Finely cast and richly gilded, it skilfully depicts the serene contemplative expression of the lama and his intricate robes. On the reverse is an intricate inscription identifying the subject as the fifth Shamarpa, Könchok Yenlak, an incarnation lineage holder of the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism. The sale presents two further portrait bronzes depicting important historical figures in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

  • Sir Matthew Smith, Vase and Pears, circa 1916. To be sold in Modern & Post-War British Art, London 21 November.
    Vase & Pears is a perfect example of Matthew Smith’s signature style of the early decades of the 20th century, a seamless blend of Post-Impressionist colour with a loose, lyrical handling of the brush.  Smith’s work of this period was resolutely modern and therefore controversial to a more conservative British audience and yet the sheer joy of his handling, combined with often domestic subject-matter (here a simple still life) also made his work accessible, leading to wider recognition as one of Britain’s most significant pre-War artists, including being shown at the British Pavilion in the 1950 Venice Biennale.

  • Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson, A.R.A., Looking down on Downtown, 1920. To be sold in Modern & Post-War British Art, London 21 November.
    In 1919, at the invitation of print publishers Frederick Keppel & Co, Nevinson travelled to New York to make pictures of the city. Having born witness to four years of destructive war in Europe, Nevinson relished the opportunity to cross the Atlantic. He found great inspiration there and would go on to state that ‘Today New York is, for the artist, the most fascinating city in the world.’ (The Artist, quoted in L.J. Price, ‘New York Letter’, Leader, 13 November 1920, quoted in Michael Walsh, C.R.W. Nevinson; The Cult of Violence, Yale University, 2002, p. 193).  Unconcerned with the mundane realities of urban life, in Looking Down on Downtown Nevinson has chosen to capture an architectural dream, remote and beautiful in its structure.

  • Samuel John Peploe, Reflections, circa 1908. To be sold in Scottish Art, London 21 November.
    Reflections is a striking example of Peploe’s early work and shows the formative influence of modern French painting on his artistic oeuvre. The harmoniously modulated tones of black, grey and white punctuated with notes of green and blue clearly point to the influence of Manet and Whistler. Indeed, the artist J.D. Fergusson noted that, ‘Manet and Monet were the painters who fixed our direction – In Peploe’s case, Manet especially.’

  • A Fine Victorian Copy of Frederic Lord Leighton’s The Bath Of Psyche. To be sold in Collections, London 31 October.
    The present work is a magnificent large scale copy of Sir Frederic Lord Leighton’s masterpiece The Bath of Psyce which was first exhibited in 1890 and is now held in the Tate collections.  Psyche is depicted preparing to bathe for her wedding, her sensuous figure and diaphanous drapery set against a classical architectural background, with her slender legs reflected in the pool by which she stands. J. Harlaw author of The Charm of Leighton describes the works sensuous nature, ‘Psyche’s contour is perfect and her form deliciously rounded. The exquisite pearly fairness of the skin must ever make this rendering of the amorous deity the standard of modelling.’  

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