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Mars, Venus and an Attendant derobing her Mistress for the Bath

William Etty RA (York 1787 – York 1849)

Category

Art / Oil paintings

Date

1839 - 1840 (exh at RA)

Materials

Oil on panel

Measurements

92 x 64 cm

Place of origin

York

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Collection

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire (Accredited Museum)

On show at

Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire, East of England, National Trust

NT 515506

Caption

William Etty was an unusual Victorian artist in dedicating himself almost exclusively to the depiction of the nude, which he painted in a glowing and sensual manner, reminiscent of Titian and Rubens. From his faithful studies undertaken at the Academy Life School, Etty produced many mythological and religious scenes, which he constantly subjected to the requirements of ideal art. Mars, in Roman mythology, was the god of war, and Venus was the goddess of love. Mars’ love for Venus had been a popular subject with painters since the Renaissance and Etty continued to employ the theme in his work.

Summary

Oil painting on panel, Mars, Venus and Attendant derobing her Mistress for the Bath by William Etty RA (York 1787 – York 1849), 1840. Young woman, Venus, full-length, naked apart from a modesty veil, stands in the centre of a classical archway, her black maid, half standing, on the right, holds up the gauze modesty veil; Mars is asleep, sprawled across a bed on a leopard skin behind her on the left, with his armour beside him on the far left, in front of him on the floor is a gold ewer and classical drinking vessel, to the right behind the black maid is his shield leaning against a fluted pillar. Trees and sky seen at the back, through the archway.

Provenance

Probably Samuel Mendel sale, Christie’s, 23 April 1875, lot 301; bought by Agnew, for 500 gns, (called ‘Mars & Venus Disrobing’); Charles P. Matthews sale, Christie’s, 6 June 1891, lot 30; bought by Agnew, for 150 gns.; C. F. Huth sale, Christie’s, 19 March 1904, lot 91, bought by Permain, for 190 gns.; Barnet Lewis sale, Christies, 3 March 1930, lot 190, bought by Cawley for 150 gns.; Rt. Hon. Lord Leverhulme (1888 - 1949) sale, Christie’s, 2 Oct 1942, lot 88, bought by Leggatt for 60 gns.; Date of acquisition by Lord Fairhaven is unknown; bequeathed to the National Trust by Huttleston Rogers Broughton, 1st Lord Fairhaven (1896-1966) with the house and the rest of the contents.

Credit line

Anglesey Abbey, The Fairhaven Collection (National Trust)

Makers and roles

William Etty RA (York 1787 – York 1849), artist

References

Farr 1958 Dennis Farr, William Etty, London, 1958, No. 73, pp.88, 149 Gaunt and Roe 1943 William Gaunt and F.Gordon Roe, Etty and the Nude, Leigh-ion-Sea, 1943, pl. 47 Gilchrist 1855 Alexander Gilchrist, Life of William Etty RA, 2 vols. 1855, ol. II, p.338;

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