13 Jan 2012
A chilling portrait by the British actress Linden Travers who starred in Alfred Hitchcock's 1939 classic, The Lady Vanishes, is for sale at Bonhams Gentleman's Library Sale on 18 January. It is estimated at £3,000-5,000.
The painting, The Death of a Gentleman shows a stylish man about town in top hat and opera cloak, his cane and gloves on the table before him surrounded by champagne, an Ascot Royal Enclosure badge, playing cards and bank notes. The gentleman is, however, a grinning corpse.
Travers, whose brother Bill was the star of the hugely popular film, Born Free, was a talented artist who for a while ran a gallery in London with her sisters. Her allegorical portrait has hints of the withering satire of the German Expressionists George Grosz and Otto Dix. It can be read both as a comment on vanity and the transience of pleasure and a wry observation on the stage door johnnies she would routinely have mixed with in the theater and cinema industry. Painted in 1939, in the shadow of war, it can also be seen as a warning against the futility of fiddling while Rome burns.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com