Sir David Wilkie, R.A.

Queen Victoria on horseback: a sketch


Old Masters Evening Sale

7 December 2021

Lot 46

This work compels with energetic brushwork and overall vibrancy. Queen Victoria's depicted as a confident, perhaps slightly aloof young woman. With her sidesaddle mounted figure at the apex of the compositional pyramid, there's allegorical suggestion but no clear consensus for interpretation. Through combinations of expression and posture, the surrounding figures lend an atmosphere of communal though slightly uncertain reverence. It's been suggested that aspects of the composition were borrowed from Van Dyck's "Saint Martin dividing his cloak". There appears to be some technical influence from Goya, the carmine red drapery arising from an otherwise earth based palette. This succeeds despite, or perhaps because one of the painters discarded compositions is partially revealed when the canvas is turned upside down. Auction estimate (£ 40,000 - £60,000)

Price realised at auction: GBP 47,500

Frank Auerbach     Reclining Model IV


Modern British Art

18 – 24 November 2021