Thursday, March 25, 2010

Missing Waterhouse Painting Found




For over 30 years, John William Waterhouse's painting, Isabella and the Pot of Basil, has been "unlocatable" and inaccessible to art historians. The painting had sold at Christie's Auction House in 1967 and entered into the Lord Lambton collection, but after its appearance in the Waterhouse retrospective exhibition at the Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield, in 1978, its whereabouts were unknown. Now, after three decades, the painting has shown up again, exactly where you might expect it to; in Rod Stewart's bedroom.

Photos by Mary E. Nichols for Architectural Digest

In the May 2007 issue of Architectural Digest, the 28,000 square foot, Beverly Hills home of the rocker-turned-crooner was profiled, and in one image, the painting could be seen above the mantle in Stewart's master suite. An expert spotted the painting and passed the discovery on to Catherine Payling, curator of the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, who had been interested in finding the work. Payling shared her excitement, and the original painting's location has since been confirmed by Waterhouse authority Peter Trippi through interviews with sister-sites johnwilliamwaterhouse.com and ArtMagick. The provenance from Lord Lambton to Stewart, however, has not been released.


Stewart, who is an avid art and antique collector, is most proud of his collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, of which, he believes, he has one of the world's largest assemblies. Only about one-third of that group of paintings are on display in his California home. Hopefully, now that the location of Isabella and the Pot of Basil is known again, Stewart might be convinced to loan the painting to upcoming exhibits, or perhaps, even include the work in a showing of his extensive, private art collection.


7 comments:

Jason de Graaf said...

What's more interesting is that it looks like Mr. Stewart and I share the same interior decorator.

Neil said...

What a turn-up for the books! But it doesn't seem to me a very bedroom-y subject - after all that's her lover's severed and decomposing head that Isabella is cradling in the terracotta pot. But whatever lights your fire, I suppose...

Valentino said...

Interesting story...Who knows how many missing masterpieces are hidden in private collections all over the world. One can only hope that their owners will be more prudent than French king Francois I who hung Mona Lisa in his bathroom.

innisart said...

Jason- Rod and I share the same clothing style (circa 1984)! What a small world! It's so hard finding animal-print dinner jackets these days...

Neil- I know there is a joke in there about Rod Stewart aging gracefully, but I can't make it work...

Tino- Well, if King François' bathroom looked like Stewart's, I perfectly understand...

Neil said...

You mean a conceit along the lines of The Picture of Dorian Gray? I wasn't thinking of anything so witty - just that for all its visual sumptuousness, this is rather a gruesome painting to hang in a bedroom. Interesting that so many rock stars of this era turned into highly discriminating art collectors; Eric Clapton is another.

billspaintingmn said...

I think a lot of successful musicians are art lovers. Actors,(and actresses) also!
If I had a ton-o-dough (ha) I would buy art!

Dagoelius said...

thats the biggest issue I have with art collectors. Works created by great artist should be seen by all and not locked away for private viewings.