Previously only known from a 1910 print and unrecorded for half a century, this 20in x 2ft 6in (50 x 75cm) oil by John William Godward (1861-1922) was sold by Lawrences in Crewkerne on October 12.
Painted in 1909, Summer Idleness: Day
Dreams had passed through Christie's in London in 1937
(when it made just under £70), but was offered here by the daughter
of a lady who purchased it from Harrods in 1957 for £100. "The
owners knew that they owned a fine picture but had no idea that its
whereabouts had been unknown for well over half a century," said
Lawrences' specialist Richard Kay, who estimated it at
Dr Vern Swanson, the American authority on
Godward, whose monograph of the artist's work The Eclipse of
Classicism lists dozens of Godward's pictures, recently
assessed the picture and declared it to be a revelation, saying
that it is "one of the most sensitively coloured paintings in
Godward's oeuvre". He will now include it with a larger
illustration in an updated edition of his book and is delighted to
learn of its existence.
Bidding last week came from two parties
before it sold for £320,000 (plus 19.5% buyer's premium).
Back in 2005 another major work by Godward appeared for sale in
the UK regions when Gorringes sold A Cool Retreat
II for £440,000. A new record for the artist was
established by Sotheby's New York in May this year when the
previously unrecordedA Fair Reflectionsold at $1.22m (£787,100) to
a private American collector.