Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827) Portrait of Joanna Southcote 19.5 x 15 cm. (7 3/4 x 6 in.)

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Lot 41
Thomas Rowlandson
(British, 1756-1827)
Portrait of Joanna Southcote 19.5 x 15 cm. (7 3/4 x 6 in.)

Sold for £ 2,400 (US$ 3,339) inc. premium
Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827)
Portrait of Joanna Southcote
inscribed below 'Johanna Southcote'
pen and ink and watercolour
19.5 x 15 cm. (7 3/4 x 6 in.)

Footnotes

  • Joanna Southcote (1750- 1814) was a self described religous prophetess who at the age of 64 affirmed that she would be delivered of the new Messiah, the Shiloh of Genesis; 19th October 1814 was the date fixed for the birth, but Shiloh failed to appear.

    Her followers, referred to as Southcottians, are said to have numbered over 100,000 and the movement did not end with Southcote's death. She left a sealed wooden box of prophecies, usually known as Joanna Southcote's Box, with the instruction that it be opened only at a time of national crisis, and then only in the presence of all 24 bishops of the Church of England (there were only 24 at the time), who were to spend a fixed period of time beforehand studying Southcote's prophecies. Attempts were made to persuade the episcopate to open it during the Crimean War and again during World War I.

    Eventually in 1927, one reluctant prelate (the Bishop of Grantham) was persuaded to be present at the box's opening, but it was found to contain only a few oddments and unimportant papers, among them a lottery ticket and a horse-pistol.
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