Richard Ansdell, RA (British, 1815-1885) The Vega of Granada, returning from pastures
Lot 67* W
Richard Ansdell, RA
(British, 1815-1885)
The Vega of Granada, returning from pastures
Sold for £20,000 (US$ 32,659) inc. premium

Lot Details
Richard Ansdell, RA (British, 1815-1885)
The Vega of Granada, returning from pastures
signed and dated 'R Ansdell/1880' (lower right); indistinctly inscribed on an old label attached to the reverse
oil on canvas
107 x 153cm (42 1/8 x 60 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Sale, Christie's, 9 April 1904 (£136 10s)
    Collection of Lister
    Sale, Sotheby, King and Chasemore, 1980
    Acquired by private owner who bequeathed it to present owner
    Private collection, South Africa

    EXHIBITED:
    London, Royal Academy, 1882, no. 458

    In the mid-1800s it was fashionable for artists to visit Spain. It was considered de rigueur and much approved of by the contemporary critics who were highly complimentary as to the extra zest, lightness of colour and romance of subject that painting in Spain brought to the British palette. Richard Ansdell's friend and fellow painter John Phillip RA (1817–1867) became so successful in this genre that he was known as "Spanish Phillip". Ansdell made two trips to Spain – the first in 1856 with Phillip, and the second in 1857. They travelled by horseback in the Granada and Cartagena regions. Apart from all the artistic accoutrements needed, and essentials such as a good telescope with a compass in the cap, plus cigars for barter, they also carried notebooks as "memory is more treacherous than a lead pencil, and one word jotted down on the spot is worth a cartload of recollections".

    This work is a good example of the importance of such a notebook as this picture was produced well after Ansdell's Spanish jaunt, being painted in his London studio from his notes and sketches. Towards the end of his life, Ansdell harked back to Spanish subjects and revisited the experiences that still lived vividly in his mind. So sure was he of the detail, colours and subject matter that he submitted this painting to the Royal Academy Exhibition in 1882.

    As a follow-on from his highly successful depiction of Scottish sheep, it is obvious that Ansdell enjoyed painting Spanish goats. Here we see them depicted in typical style, centre-stage, moving as a flock towards us, but displaying personality in each individual animal. To the right is the billy-goat proudly leading his nanny-goats and kids, on the search for passing succulent vegetation and quite happily adopting the lazy, unhurried progress of the tired mule carrying the young goatherd enjoying his cigarette on the slow descent across the plain down from mountain pastures. We can be sure that the goats' bells, the mule's harness, the woollen saddle (doubling up as a bedroll for the boy) are all authentic as Ansdell would have brought examples home to study and use in later works.

    We are grateful to Sarah Kellam, the great great granddaughter of Richard Ansdell RA for her assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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