Dante Gabrielle Rossetti’s painting Prosperine fetched a record auction price for the artist at Sotheby’s British and Irish Art sale in London on November 19. Estimated to fetch £1.2-1.8million, the painting’s price soared to nearly £3.3million. It was bought by a UK private buyer.
“We’re delighted with the record price achieved,” said Grant Ford, head of Sotheby’s British and Irish Art Department. “This is one of the most important Pre-Raphaelite pictures to be seen on the auction market in recent years, having only been in three collections since it was completed in 1880.”
He added that there has been a resurgence of interest in Victorian art, not least in part due to the huge success of the Tate’s Pre-Raphaelites exhibition which opened last year and travelled to Washington and Moscow.
“Opportunities to buy the very best works by Rossetti seldom occur and Prosperine was hidden away in a private collection for over four decades,” he said. “Today’s result demonstrates that collectors are hungry for pictures of this quality.”
Elsewhere in the sale, Sir William Orpen’s portrait of Lady Idina Wallace sold for close to £1million, establishing the second highest amount for a work by the artist at auction. It fetched £962,500 – the strongest and highest price for an early 20th-Century Irish painting since 2007.