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Auction archive: Lot number 321

After Jules Bastien-Lepage , Portrait of Sir Henry Irving

Estimate
£3,000 - £5,000
ca. US$3,962 - US$6,603
Price realised:
n. a.
Auction archive: Lot number 321

After Jules Bastien-Lepage , Portrait of Sir Henry Irving

Estimate
£3,000 - £5,000
ca. US$3,962 - US$6,603
Price realised:
n. a.
Beschreibung:

After Jules Bastien-Lepage Portrait of Sir Henry Irving Oil on canvas 44 x 46.5cm (17¼ x 18¼ in.) Together with a letter and a telegram between Dr J. Schwartz and Mr Lawrence Irving discussing the exchange of the painting Provenance: In the collection of Miss Nora Robbins 1945 Sale, Sotheby's, 24 January 1951, Lot 40 Sale, Christie's, 12 June 1953, Lot 145, where purchased by Dr J. Schwartz Acquired by Mr Lawrence Irving, the sitter's grandson, 1953 Thence by descent Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) was one of the most prolific English stage actor and managers during the Victorian era. During his time at the Lyceum theatre from 1878, Bram Stoker worked for Irving as his business manager and it is widely acknowledged that the actor provided at least some of the inspiration for the latter's title character in his 1897 novel Dracula. In 1895, Irving became the first actor to receive a knighthood. The portrait offered here is a direct copy of a portrait on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London, painted by Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884). The original work was painted by the artist in one or two sittings during the spring of 1880, when Lepage was spending a second season in London exhibiting at the Royal Academy. As a rather serious individual who always maintained an air of professionalism, the unexpected intimate composition of the portrait was disliked by Irving who would not agree to attend any further sittings, and therefore meant that both the original and this later copy, remain unfinished. In December 1909, the portrait was donated by Dame Ellen Terry Irving's long term acting partner to whom he had previously gifted the work, to the National Portrait Gallery in London. To celebrate this new acquisition, a full page plate appeared in the Burlington Magazine in 1910. It wasn't until 1951, that this second version of the picture appeared for sale at Sotheby's in London. Three years later the picture was sold again, this time by Christie's. The successful buyer, a Dr Schwartz, contacted Henry Irving's son Lawrence Irving soon after the sale offering to swap the portrait for some letters by George Bernard Shaw. The portrait has been in the possession of the Irving family ever since. An attribution for the second portrait has never been established, but it is generally accepted that it is not the hand of Bastien-Lepage. There has however been some suggestion that the portrait could be an early work by William Nicholson As well as being a good friend of Ellen Terry Nicholson also lived for a short period with Terry's son and his wife during the 1890s, so it is absolutely possible that he would have seen the portrait and had chance to copy it during this time. In addition, records indicate that a Miss Nora Robbins was the owner of the painting in 1945. Little is known about Robbins although it is believed she was the owner of Robbins Gallery on Southampton Row in London. Miss Nora Robins was the subject of a bust by Barbara Hepworth in 1926 (see Bonhams sale 26 November 2011, Lot 142). In 1938, Hepworth married her second husband, Ben Nicholson - son of William. Of course highly speculative, but it is therefore not impossible that if Hepworth was still friends with Robbins during this time, that the latter could have acquired the portrait through Barbara and Ben. The present lot is the feature of a 15 minute pilot podcast by Adam Scourfield.

Auction archive: Lot number 321
Auction:
Datum:
14 Dec 2021
Auction house:
Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
16-17 Pall Mall
St James’s
London, SW1Y 5LU
United Kingdom
[email protected]
+44 (0)20 78398880
Beschreibung:

After Jules Bastien-Lepage Portrait of Sir Henry Irving Oil on canvas 44 x 46.5cm (17¼ x 18¼ in.) Together with a letter and a telegram between Dr J. Schwartz and Mr Lawrence Irving discussing the exchange of the painting Provenance: In the collection of Miss Nora Robbins 1945 Sale, Sotheby's, 24 January 1951, Lot 40 Sale, Christie's, 12 June 1953, Lot 145, where purchased by Dr J. Schwartz Acquired by Mr Lawrence Irving, the sitter's grandson, 1953 Thence by descent Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905) was one of the most prolific English stage actor and managers during the Victorian era. During his time at the Lyceum theatre from 1878, Bram Stoker worked for Irving as his business manager and it is widely acknowledged that the actor provided at least some of the inspiration for the latter's title character in his 1897 novel Dracula. In 1895, Irving became the first actor to receive a knighthood. The portrait offered here is a direct copy of a portrait on display at the National Portrait Gallery, London, painted by Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884). The original work was painted by the artist in one or two sittings during the spring of 1880, when Lepage was spending a second season in London exhibiting at the Royal Academy. As a rather serious individual who always maintained an air of professionalism, the unexpected intimate composition of the portrait was disliked by Irving who would not agree to attend any further sittings, and therefore meant that both the original and this later copy, remain unfinished. In December 1909, the portrait was donated by Dame Ellen Terry Irving's long term acting partner to whom he had previously gifted the work, to the National Portrait Gallery in London. To celebrate this new acquisition, a full page plate appeared in the Burlington Magazine in 1910. It wasn't until 1951, that this second version of the picture appeared for sale at Sotheby's in London. Three years later the picture was sold again, this time by Christie's. The successful buyer, a Dr Schwartz, contacted Henry Irving's son Lawrence Irving soon after the sale offering to swap the portrait for some letters by George Bernard Shaw. The portrait has been in the possession of the Irving family ever since. An attribution for the second portrait has never been established, but it is generally accepted that it is not the hand of Bastien-Lepage. There has however been some suggestion that the portrait could be an early work by William Nicholson As well as being a good friend of Ellen Terry Nicholson also lived for a short period with Terry's son and his wife during the 1890s, so it is absolutely possible that he would have seen the portrait and had chance to copy it during this time. In addition, records indicate that a Miss Nora Robbins was the owner of the painting in 1945. Little is known about Robbins although it is believed she was the owner of Robbins Gallery on Southampton Row in London. Miss Nora Robins was the subject of a bust by Barbara Hepworth in 1926 (see Bonhams sale 26 November 2011, Lot 142). In 1938, Hepworth married her second husband, Ben Nicholson - son of William. Of course highly speculative, but it is therefore not impossible that if Hepworth was still friends with Robbins during this time, that the latter could have acquired the portrait through Barbara and Ben. The present lot is the feature of a 15 minute pilot podcast by Adam Scourfield.

Auction archive: Lot number 321
Auction:
Datum:
14 Dec 2021
Auction house:
Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
16-17 Pall Mall
St James’s
London, SW1Y 5LU
United Kingdom
[email protected]
+44 (0)20 78398880
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