Sanford Robinson Gifford’s (1823-80) sketch of the Lago di Nemi, a circular volcanic lake in Lazio also known as The Mirror of Diana, will have an estimate of $200,000-300,000.
The 13½ x 20½in (34 x 52cm) oil on canvas, which is signed and dated SR Gifford 18, is a recent rediscovery. It belonged to Arthur Dennis Veasey (d.1927), a mill owner in Massachusetts, and has passed down to the vendor by descent.
The work is thought to be one of at least four preparatory studies prepared by Gifford for his break-out masterpiece Lake Nemi which is now in the Toledo Museum of Art. It was probably painted in Rome during the artist’s first trip to Europe in the autumn and winter of 1856-7.
Lake Nemi was a popular Grand Tour subject for artists and was painted by, among others, JMW Turner. As well as being the largest of Gifford’s known preparatory studies, Skinner’s painting is also the most finished.