Wednesday, January 3, 2018

336. Cherubs and a Centaur Drawn by Ricketts

Unrecorded early drawings and paintings by Ricketts and Shannon do turn up occasionally. The drawings may have been studies for paintings or illustrations. Such drawings by Ricketts are usually unused for illustrations that he may or may not have been assigned. There is still a lot to discover.

A few years ago, a drawing of a centaur chased by cherubs was auctioned at Dominic Winter's sale of 15 July 2015, Paintings & Watercolours, Old Master & Modern Prints, Antique Furniture, Silver & Collectables.

Charles Ricketts, 'Cherubs chasing a Centaur' (undated)
The undated drawing is an early one, as the (vaguely visible) signature testifies. Ricketts used this signature in the 1880s, when he was in his early twenties.

At an estimate of £400 — £600, the drawing was sold for £700 (hammer price).

The subject of centaurs haunted Ricketts (as it did Thomas Sturge Moore). See an article by Ricketts collector and scholar Carl Woodring: 'Centaurs Unnaturally Fabulous'. Centaurs were depicted by Ricketts in book illustrations (for example The Sphinx) and were a subject for sculpting after 1900.

Perhaps, Ricketts referred to an eighteenth-century image by the Venetian artist Tiepolo that is in the collection of the Prado Museum in Madrid. The drawing shows a similar scene from a different angle.

Tiepolo, 'Centaur with Cherubs' (Museo del Prado, Madrid)