Alice Emily Donkin (British, fl. 1871-1909) Reverie 33 x 38in (83.8 x 96.5cm)

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Lot 79W
Alice Emily Donkin
(British, fl. 1871-1909)
Reverie 33 x 38in (83.8 x 96.5cm)

US$ 5,000 - 7,000
£ 3,900 - 5,400
Alice Emily Donkin (British, fl. 1871-1909)
Reverie
signed with monogram (lower left); signed, inscribed and dated 'A E Donkin / 97 Upper Tulse Hill / 1882.' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
33 x 38in (83.8 x 96.5cm)

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private sale, Palm Springs, California circa 1995;
    Private collection, Los Angeles, California.

    Not much is known about Alice Emily Donkin's life but she is mostly known for her connection to the author and photographer Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson), who befriended her parents and their relatives. Alice Emily and her first cousin Alice Jane spent considerable amounts of time in the company of the author of the famous 'Alice in Wonderland' book. While he never admitted that Alice Jane was the model for his eponymous book, it was widely accepted that his affection for the child inspired him to name his heroine 'Alice.'

    Alice Emily never wed and made a name for herself as a painter of genre scenes and portraiture. She exhibited frequently at the London Salon, the Royal Society of British Artists, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, the Society of Women Artists and the Royal Academy.

    In the present painting, Donkin has departed from her earlier, romantic genre scenes and embraced the British Neoclassical Revivalist style propagated by Alma-Tadema decades earlier and carried forth by John William Godward. The detailed depiction of the Roman marble frieze against an italianate landscape and of the meticulous mosaic, reveals an intense preoccupation with Italian archaeology, possibly acquired during a Grand Tour voyage. The brooding figure with neoclassical features is clad in an orange-colored dress, a frequent prop of the Revivalist movement, along with the luxuriant animal skin draped across the marble bench. Etruscan Revival jewelry completes the ensemble, pointing to an elevated social status of the love-struck young woman.
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