George Watson Taylor (née Watson)


The Watson Taylor 'town collection'

Extensive collection of Renaissance paintings sold by Christie's in June 1823.


'One of the earliest sales of the year 1823 consisted of the choice collection of painted Greek vases, formed by the late Sir Henry Englefield, which came under the hammer March 6th, 7th and 8th, and realized £2,732 15s. Two very important sales took place in the following June. The earlier one comprised the " town collection " of pictures of Mr. G. Watson Taylor. Mr. Christie's announcement intimated in the advertisements that " on Friday, the 13 of June, and following Day, he will sell by Auction, at his Great Room, Pall Mall, precisely at One o'clock, the very distinguished collection of Italian, French, Flemish, Dutch, and English pictures, of the first class, of George Watson Taylor, Esq., being the collection from his town mansion in Cavendish Square. The superb assemblage comprises chefs-dceuvre which have contributed importance to many foreign cabinets, and have been further celebrated by engravings made from them." Among them were " that grand masterpiece " of Parmigiano, the Vision of St. Jerome, originally brought to England by the Marquis of Abercorn about 1780 from the church of San Salvatore di Lauro, at Citta di Castello, and was purchased at this sale by the Rev. H. Carr for the British Institution for 3,050 guineas, and is now in the National Gallery ; Sir Joshua Reynolds, Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic Muse, the celebrated picture, 1,750 guineas (Earl Grosvenor). These were the two great pictures of the sale ; but there were also the following: J. Steen, An Interior, with women stealing a watch from a youth over- powered with wine and sleep, 200 guineas ; Ruysdael, a small Landscape, with woody bank, a road, and a pool of water, with traveller and dog, 97 guineas ; and a Heath Scene, with a clump of trees on a winding road, the companion, 200 guineas; David Teniers, the Four Seasons, " exemplified in four beautiful, small, cabinet pictures," from the Talleyrand collection, 180 guineas (Peel, now in National Gallery) ; Sir Joshua Reynolds, the celebrated original portrait of Dr. Samuel John- son, painted for Mrs. Thrale, 470 guineas (Major Thwaites), subsequently in the Peel collection, and now in the National Gallery ; Portrait of Baretti, reading, 100 guineas, and of Arthur Murphy, 90 guineas both painted for Mrs. Thrale ; Jan Steen, Portraits of the artist and his wife taking an afternoon nap, their children playing tricks, from the D'Alberg collection, 220 guineas (Mr. Hume); Vandyck, Portrait of Simon Vos, the celebrated animal painter, 182 guineas, and of the wife of De Vos, 340 guineas the latter was bought by Wells of Redleaf; Rubens, Lions at Play, 315 guineas; Wouverman, Bank of River, figures landing goods from a shallop, from the Le Perier collection, 685 guineas (Hume) ; A. Carracci, Christ and the Woman of Samaria at the Well, the Disciples and other figures approaching them, 310 guineas; Guido, Magdalen accosted by an Infant Angel, 310 guineas ; D. Teniers, Exterior of a Farmhouse, with many Villagers and four Strolling Players, 395 guineas; William Van de Velde, A Calm, Dutch frigate at anchor, a shallop approaching her, with other vessels, 390 guineas (Peel, now in the National Gallery) ; Ruysdael, a cool fresh Landscape, stream of water between the ruins of an abbey mill, 300 guineas (Thwaites) ; G. Poussin, Landscape with rich broken scenery, buildings in foreground, 360 guineas (Beckford); Murillo, Portrait of Don Justino Neve y Yevennes, a Canon of Seville, seated, with favourite Dog at his feet, 1910 guineas (Thwaites) ; Guido, Martyrdom of St. Apollonia, on copper, 400 guineas ; Hobbema, a Grand Landscape, with watermill, cottages and a transparent sheet of water, figures in a woody scene, 950 guineas (Sequire), and the companion picture, Forest Scene, with road through a village, peasant family reposing near a pool in foreground, 800 guineas (the same) ; Paul Potter, Landscape, with a bull and two cows, signed on a paling beneath a willow tree on the right, "Paulus Potter, f. 1647," 1,210 guineas (Thwaites) ; Wouverman, Interior of a Stable, with mounted cavalier and two others, lady mounted and an attendant leading a horse are arriving, 530 guineas (Emmerson) ; and Rubens, the Grand Landscape with a Rainbow, from the Balbi Palace at Genoa, 2,600 guineas (Lord Orford). The total of the sale amounted to 18,567 gs., but of this amount 6,385 worth of pictures were bought in.

W. Roberts, Memorials of Christies: a Record of Arts Sales 1766-1896 (1897) Vol. I pp. 103-107.

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