Three pieces of Victorian art from the Leverhulme collection will be offered at Sotheby’s in London later this year with a combined estimate of £9m-14m.
While the estimates may seem relatively
punchy, interestingly, the works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William
Holman Hunt and James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot will be taken on a
world tour before the sale on December 4, with Sotheby's hosting
viewings in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York and Los Angles as
well as London.
Building up air miles in this way is now
customary for top-end pieces Modern and Contemporary art, but it is
unusual in the Victorian market. They will also be offered in an
evening sale primarily alongside Old Masters rather than 19th
century British pictures - another departure from the usual
practice in the Victorian sector (in fact, Sotheby's have another
major Rossetti in their British and Irish art sale two weeks
It seems evident that this is an attempt to
engender greater international interest in these pictures,
following on from a number of recent high-value private sales of
Victorian works as well as the record £13.2m set by
Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones' Love among the Ruins sold at
Christie's in July - a result which may have drawn these works to
The consignment of the three pictures has
come 12 years after Sotheby's dispersal of the Leverhulme
Collection at Thornton Manor, Merseyside, in June 2001 - an
auction that raised over £9m and was the highest-grossing English
country house sale at the time. These three works did not feature
in that event and were instead placed on loan at the Lady Lever Art
Gallery by the executors of the 3rd Viscount Leverhulme's
The collection itself was started by
Victorian soap-magnate William Hesketh Lever, the 1st Viscount
Leverhulme, who bought Rossetti's 1867 oil on panel A Christmas
Carol, while the Tissot and Holman Hunt were purchased by his
son, the second Viscount.
A Christmas Carol was one of
Rossetti's last paintings of the model Ellen Smith and she was
shown here in Venetian-style dress playing a musical instrument. It
is estimated at £4m-6m.
Holman Hunt's Tuscan Girl Plaiting
Straw, which was painted in Fiesole, outside Florence, in the
winter of 1869, depicts an Italian peasant girl standing with dove
perched on her shoulder. It is estimated at
Finally, Tissot's A Visit to the
Yacht is an oil on canvas showing a group of figures assembled
on the deck of a boat and has been estimated at £2m-3m.
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