Oil on board; titled and extensively inscribed verso.
8.25 x 4.75 inches
Anon. sale, Sotheby's Belgravia, 17 June 1980 (32), unsold at £380.
Anon. sale, Sotheby's Belgravia, 31 March 1981 (82, repr. p.17), sold for £200.
Richard Ivor by 1981 (consigned by him to Christie's, 5 November 1982, 85, repr. p.27, unsold at £400); bought from him for £650 in 1983 by John Constable.
Leonard Roberts, Arthur Hughes: His Life & Works ( London: Antique Collectors Club, 1997), ill. p 215, no. 283.2
Arthur Hughes was a close second-generation adherent of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Although he outlived all of the original members, Hughes continued to paint in the spirit of the Pre-Raphaelites until the end of his career. In 1892, he exhibited a triptych at the Royal Academy entitled Viola d’Amore, now lost, but described by The Builder (7 May 1892) as a ‘real little allegorical poem in painting’. In a letter to William Bell Scott, Hughes explained that the first panel ‘shows a young girl at mourning turning her fiddle to the birds among the blossoms outside the window she has just opened. Next, at midday, she has walked out in a garden and met Love. Last, at evening, she has lit her lamp, and is taking off a wreath, and with serious face about to say her prayers at her bedside, at the head of which preside little angels’ (WE Fredeman, ed., ... Penkill Letters..., 1967). Our little sketch is for the third and final panel, and the frame is a reduction of the final design. The finished triptych was exhibited at the Royal Society of Artists in 1893, and at the first Venice Biennale in 1895.