Wednesday, July 27, 2011

How Sir Lancelot was Shot

This large-scale work by Arthur Rackham from The Romance of King Arthur (1917) was offered for sale at Bonhams New York on June 22, where it failed to find a buyer. The image is poetic and atmospheric, and it does a superb job of telling the story of the Arthurian legend. Sir Lancelot, during his affair with Queen Guinevere, goes into hiding near St. Leonard's well. He falls asleep when a lady with a hunting party happens by in pursuit of a hind. She shoots Lancelot in the buttocks. Lancelot recovers in the nearby Clewer Hermitage.

The price estimate is certainly robust, but not unheard of for this artist. Sold or unsold, this is a fine example of the illustrator's art.

Lot No: 90
Arthur Rackham (British, 1867-1939)
"How Sir Lancelot was Shot by a Gentlewoman Hunting," published in The Romance of King Arthur (1917).
Signed lower right.
Ink and watercolor on paper.
35.6 x 26.7cm (14 x 10 1/2in).

Estimate: US$15,000 - 25,000, Unsold
Footnote:  A fine, large image from one of Rackham's most famous works.

Update August 23, 2011:  This piece was previously sold at Heritage Auctions on October 27, 2009 for $11,950 including the buyer's premium.  This sale price suggests that the auction estimate at Bonham's may have been a little too steep.

Sale 19514 - 20th Century Illustration Art, 22 Jun 2011
New York

Arthur Rackham (British, 1867-1939)
"How Sir Lancelot was Shot by a Gentlewoman Hunting"
The Romance of King Arthur, 1917

My previous post on Rackham's Rhinemaidens can be found here.


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