Sir William Blake Richmond, RA (British, 1842-1921) Portrait of Ethel Bertha Harrison
Lot 144
Sir William Blake Richmond, RA
(British, 1842-1921)
Portrait of Ethel Bertha Harrison
Sold for £ 9,000 (US$ 11,656) inc. premium

Lot Details
Sir William Blake Richmond, RA (British, 1842-1921)
Portrait of Ethel Bertha Harrison
oil on canvas
90.5 x 70.5cm (35 5/8 x 27 3/4in).

Footnotes

  • EXHIBITED:
    London, Grosvenor Gallery, 1883, no. 183 as 'Mrs Frederick Harrison';
    London, New Gallery, Works of Sir William B. Richmond., K.G.B, R.A, Winter Exhibition 1900-1901, no. 223, titled 'Mrs Frederic Harrison', lent by Frederic Harrison Esq.

    LITERATURE:
    Simon Reynolds, William Blake Richmond, An Artist's Life 1842-1921, Norwich, 1995, p.144

    If William Blake Richmond's 1872 portrait of Princess Alexandra was considered by Queen Victoria to be a 'yellowy-greenery' failure, that of Princess Louise of 1881 received general acclaim. She wears a low cut dress, similar to that worn by Mrs Harrison in the present lot of 1882, a resplendent portrait of an 'Italianate' beauty, complete with a white lily in the foreground and a centrally placed red rose. Richmond continued to depict flowers adorning the cleavage of his languorous female sitters until the 4th Viscount Hood, in 1888, was outraged to recognise the artist's profile, conspicuous in a rose, admiring his wife Edith's cleavage; Lord Hood insisted on it's immediate removal.

    The heavy latin eyelids depicted in this portrait re-appear in Mrs Ernest Moon, (Tate Britain) exhibited at the RA in 1888, after Richmond's election as an ARA. His portrait of Mrs J. A. Fuller-Maitland (City Museum, Lancaster), shown at the RA in the same year, reflects the same relaxed pose on a sofa, with an Arts and Crafts curtain as backdrop. The introduction to this sitter probably came from Richmond's friend the 9th Earl of Carlisle, and his wife Rosalind; the resultant portrait is an outstanding example of Richmond's lusciously composed depictions of beautiful society women, executed at the height of the artist's powers.

    Ethel Bertha Harrison (1851-1916) was born at Highgate Hill, London on 27 October 1851. Her father was a wealthy West India merchant and Ethel was educated by French and English governesses both in London and France. In August 1870 she married her cousin Frederic Harrison (1831-1923), essayist and activist, and a leading figure in the Positivist movement. Ethel mixed easily with her husband's circle of intellectual friends which included John Ruskin, Beatrice Potter, George Eliot and Rosalind Howard, the future Countess of Carlisle. She wrote for The Positivist Review, founded in 1893, on topics such as education, patriotism, women and the empire.

    Like her husband, Ethel was a prominent opponent of women's suffrage. She believed that biologically women were unsuited to political activities and this persuasion was reinforced by her Positivist beliefs. She served on the executive of the women's National Anti-Suffrage League, founded in 1908.

    In 1912 the Harrison's moved to Bath where Ethel died on 6th June 1916.

    We are grateful to Simon Reynolds for his assistance in cataloguing this lot
Activities
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £175,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £175,001 to £3,000,000 the Hammer Price
12.5% from £3,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalogue.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Similar Items