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Christie's London to offer works from the collection of businessman John Schaeffer
Daniel Maclise, R.A. (1806-1870), The Wrestling Scene in 'As You Like It', signed and dated 'D MACLISE 1854' (lower left), oil on canvas, 50¾ x 69¾ in. (129 x 177.1 cm.). Estimate: 300,000-500,000 British pounds. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012.

LONDON.- Christie’s announced two works from the collection of John Schaeffer will be offered in the sale of Victorian & British Impressionist Art on 13 December 2012. The Wrestling Scene in ‘As You Like It’ by Daniel Maclise R.A. (1806-1870) and Chivalry by Sir Francis Dicksee P.R.A. (1853-1928) come to auction after a six-month loan to Leighton House.

Chivalry, by Sir Francis Bernard Dicksee, is one of his most attractive works and is a wonderful embodiment of late Victorian romanticism at its most theatrical and uninhibited (estimate: £600,000 – 800,000). The ideal of chivalry preoccupied the Victorians; the concept was central to the frescoes in the new Palace of Westminster that were conceived as a great expression of national pride and sentiment. Dicksee began to exhibit at the R.A. in 1876 and was elected President in 1924.

Critics often described the picture’s handling and colouring as Venetian - justifiably, since Dicksee was a great admirer of Venetian painting. He visited Venice in 1882, three years before the exhibition of Chivalry, and he told his students at the R.A. Schools to ‘revel in the joyous company of Titian and Giorgione, Tintoretto and Veronese; all their windows are open to the sunny south and a golden light pervades them’.

The Wrestling Scene in ‘As You Like It’ is a rare illustration to Shakespeare on such a scale, and is one of the artist’s finest works (estimate: £300,000 – 500,000). Maclise often drew inspiration from Shakespeare; he himself was a devotee of the theatre, and two of his closest friends, the novelist Charles Dickens and the journalist and critic John Forster, were passionate amateur actors. The subject is taken from As You Like It, Act I, Scene 2. Rosalind and her friend Celia, daughters respectively of the banished Duke and his brother, the usurper Frederick, watch a wrestling match between an unknown youth, Orlando, and Charles, a professional wrestler of formidable reputation. Naturally they want Orlando to win, as indeed he does. The picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1855, and in the catalogue Maclise listed the characters from left to right as follows: Dennis, a servant; and his master, the ill-natured Oliver; Orlando’s elder brother; Charles, the Duke’s wrestler; Le Beau, a courtier; Duke Frederick (seated); Celia and Rosalind (Rosalind, as she should be, the taller); the jester Touchstone (seated on the step); Orlando; and Adam, his old servant.

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