One of the very few Turner paintings still in private hands will go on sale at Sotheby’s Old Master and British Paintings Evening auction on December 3rd, reports the Telegraph. It will be the second time in history that the painting hits the auction block, and it comes with a staggering estimate of £15-20 million.
The painting, titled Rome, from Mount Aventine (1836), set a record price of £6,000 the first time it was sold back in 1878, but it has remained in the Rosebery family ever since. “For the last forty years or so the painting has been on loan to major museums, and we have drawn much pleasure from knowing that so many people have had the opportunity to see and enjoy it,” said a spokesman for the family. “Now, in order to maintain the estates for which we are responsible, and to safeguard their future, we have made the decision to sell it.”
Experts from Sotheby’s have said that the work is in such good condition that is possible to find hairs from Turner’s own paintbrush still trapped on the canvas.
Originally commissioned by Turner’s patron Hugh Munro of Novar in 1828, it took the artist seven years to complete it. In order to paint a faithful view of Rome, Turner travelled to the Italian city and sketched numerous detailed studies.
When Turner exhibited the completed canvas at the Royal Academy in 1836, the Morning Post wrote: “This is one of those amazing pictures by which Mr Turner dazzles the imagination and confounds all criticism: it is beyond praise.”
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