Saturday, November 28, 2009

William Huggins (British, 1820-1884)

"Liverpool born William Huggins was perhaps one of the most adept, original and popular animal painters of the Victorian Age. His interest in animals led to him to study in local farmyards, following Wombwell’s Menagerie (a travelling animal circus) and spending hours in Chester zoo, particularly with the lions and tigers, which were to become important elements of his historical and literary paintings. He became an associate, then member, of the Liverpool Academy in the late 1840s, but resigned in 1856, perhaps as a result of his growing association with the early Pre-Raphaelites.
Huggins skill at capturing the spirit and character of his animal subjects was second perhaps only to Landseer. In his oils he often used a heavy white ground and transparent pigments, creating an effect of luminescence ... He was a man of great character, described on his gravestone near Chester as: ‘… a just and compassionate man, who would neither tread on a worm nor cringe to an emperor."
- Lot notes

1. Self portrait of the artist with his chickens
signed and dated 'W. Huggins/1858' (lower right)
oil on canvas
21 x 17 in. (53.3 x 43.2 cm.)
2. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck
signed and dated 1860
oil on board
11 x w: 15 in (27.9 x w: 38.1 cm)
3. In The Cool Shade
signed and dated 1870; bears labels verso, and exhibition label from the Walker Art Gallery, oil on board,
47 x 62cm (18 1/2 x 24 7/16 in).
4. The Stoic
signed and dated 'W Huggins/1852' (lower left)
oil on board
63 x 77 cm. (24 3/4 x 30 1/4 in.)
5. Study of a terrier, sitting before a Cantonese famille rose vase
signed and dated 'W.Huggins/1868' (lower right)
black, white and red chalk and watercolour, heightened with touches of white, on buff paper
21 x 17 in. (54.6 x 43.2 cm.)
6. Portrait of a Newfoundland (detail)
signed and dated 'W. Huggins/1869.' (upper left)
oil on board
15 x 12 1/2 in. (38 x 32 cm.)

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