Pickford Robert Waller, Knight Virgo - Original 19th-century watercolour
is on back order
An original late 19th-century watercolour painting, Pickford Robert Waller Knight Signs of the Zodiac – Virgo.
This hand-coloured pen and ink drawing is by the distinguished designer and collector Pickford Robert Waller (1849-1930). It is a copy of a design by the Victorian caricaturist Sir John Tenniel, who is best known for his illustrations for Alice in Wonderland. Tenniel produced a series of cartoons of knights, depicting the different signs of the zodiac: this one shows Virgo as a demure young lady with sword and armour.
In good condition for its age. Some adhesive marks to verso, which show through slightly.
10.5cm x 6cm.
This work comes from a number of albums belonging to Waller, showing his great versatility as an artist. Waller produced floral designs for wallpaper and fabrics, but he is best known as a prolific designer of books and bookplates: he produced book designs for authors including Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and the poet and dramatist Laurence Binyon.
Many of the studies in our collection feed into that work: there are naturalistic studies of flowers, which were then worked-up into more stylised designs, and there are many humorous illustrations which could be used in books, including copies of work by Alice in Wonderland illustrator Sir John Tenniel.
Waller was a leading member of the Aesthetic Movement, which championed ‘art for art’s sake,’ emphasising the sensual qualities of art and design rather than any practical, moral or narrative purpose it might have. For a late-nineteenth-century aesthete, though, Waller’s background was unusual: he was the son of a builder. Robert John Waller ran a thriving building firm from Lyall Street in London, and when he died in 1892, Pickford Waller continued to run the business. Eventually, though, the arts came to hold more of his attention than bricks and mortar.
As well as being a practising artist himself, Pickford Waller was also an important collector and patron of the arts. In particular, he was an early supporter of James Abbot McNeil Whistler (1834-1903), who he first met as a young man when he visited Whistler’s studio with the artist Matthew White Ridley. Waller became an avid collector of Whistleriana, and Whistler’s influence can be seen in much of his work.
Among Waller’s works in our collection is a rare pamphlet, Bookplates by Pickford Waller, which gives examples of Waller’s book designs, and includes an introduction by W. G. Blaikie Murdoch, discussing Waller's work. According to Blaikie Murdoch, as well as being himself ‘a fecund artist,’ ‘Mr Pickford Waller is mainly known as a connoisseur, especially in modern art.’ He was ‘one of the earliest devotees of Whistler’, with ‘a wonderful collection of Whistleriana.’ For Blaikie Murdoch, though, it is Waller’s work in bookplates that ‘forms an epitome of his capacities.’
(Please note that the pamphlet is pictured for information only, and is listed separately for purchase).
Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.
Product code: JG-043