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    Description

    ALICE HAVERS (British, 1850-1890)
    The Faithful Shepherdess, circa 1886
    Oil on canvas
    37 x 24 inches (94.0 x 61.0 cm)
    Signed lower left: A Havers

    EXHIBITED:
    Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1886;
    Adelaide Jubilee International Exhibition, Adelaide, South Australia, June 21, 1887, no. 33.

    LITERATURE:
    H. Blackburn, Academy Notes, Great Britain, 1886, p. 15, no. 100i;
    Illustrated London Times, June 1886, illustrated as an engraving;
    The Spectator, "Art: The Royal Academy," July 3, 1886, p. 880;
    The Age, "The Adelaide Jubilee Exhibition," Tuesday, June 28, 1887.

    For the Victorian artist Alice Havers, the world of women and children provided an endless source of images for her both her academic paintings and her illustrations for books, magazines, and Christmas cards. Born in Norfolk, England, in 1850, Havers was quite the accomplished female artist of her day, studying at the Royal Academy and in Paris, joining the Society of Lady Artists, and regularly exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1873-1889. More often than not, her paintings centered around happy children - romping in the park, splashing in the bath, even selling street wares - but the painting that made her a household name was the present work, The Faithful Shepherdess, depicting a stoic, monumental young woman rescuing a sheep from the ravages of a flood. The Faithful Shepherdess received broad attention following its debut at the Royal Academy in 1886: it was published as an engraving in the June 1886 Illustrated London Times and reviewed by The Spectator: "[In] Miss Alice Havers's picture of the 'The Faithful Shepherdess,' . . . every colour is over-emphasized both in the figure and in the landscape."1 Despite this critic's objection to its bold palette, The Faithful Shepherdess was selected for an 1887 exhibition in Adelaide, Australia, commemorating the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. For the occasion, the Melbourne The Age lauded the painting: "No. 33, the Faithful Shepherdess, by Miss Alice Havers, is a work of merit. The shepherdess has rescued a lamb from some flooded land. There is a great breadth of treatment in the landscape, and the coloring is rich and harmonious."2

    The theme of the faithful shepherdess, widely imaged during the nineteenth century, derives from Englishman John Fletcher's 1608 play by the same name. A pastoral tragicomedy, The Faithful Shepherdess tells the story of a virginal shepherdess who remains chaste and faithful to her lover, even after his death. This ideal of the desirous but pure woman was a common nineteenth-century literary and visual symbol, not only in Victorian England, but throughout Europe and in America. Late nineteenth-century artists such as Johann Baptist Hofner (German), Arthur John Elsley (British), William Adolphe Bouguereau (French), and Daniel Ridgeway Knight (American) popularized similar sentimental types of the faithful shepherdess, which emphasize her wistful longing and untainted beauty.

    1The Spectator, "Art: The Royal Academy," July 3, 1886, p. 880.
    2The Age, "The Adelaide Jubilee Exhibition," Tuesday, June 28, 1887.






    Condition Report*: Unlined canvas; light surface grime; frame abrasion along extreme right edge; faint craquelure throughout; stable surface; under UV exam, appears to be scattered spots of in-painting in sky, particularly in upper left quadrant, the largest an approx 1.5x1 inch T-shape, several minor dots of in-painting in water near lower center left edge as well as foliage in upper right quadrant, and areas of shepherdess's appear to fluoresce, but may be original pigments. Framed Dimensions 41.75 X 28.75 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2013
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
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