Jun 02, 2022 - Sale 2607

Sale 2607 - Lot 68

Price Realized: $ 1,875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
Greenaway, Kate (1846-1901)
Mary had a Little Lamb.

October 21, 1895.

Watercolor and graphite illustration on paper painted as a Christmas card for John Ruskin; initialed and dated lower left, matted and framed, with segment of owner's label from Ruskin sale purchase mounted to verso; image 3 1/2 x 3 in., on 7 x 5 in. sheet.

Provenance: John Ruskin; Mrs. Arthur Severn; Sale of Ruskin Manuscripts and Library, 1930, Sotheby's London, July 24, 1930, Lot 59; Private collection, New York.

Literature: M.H. Spielmann and G.S. Layard, Kate Greenway, London: Adam and Charles Black, 1905, pictured opposite page 62.

"Indeed, charm and delicacy rather than strength are characteristic of Kate Greenaway's genius. We see them, for example, in the little 'Swansdown' and companion drawings [...] and in 'Mary had a Little Lamb,' which the artist drew as a Christmas card for professor Ruskin, with their delicate touches of colour and the exquisite pencil outline — so unhesitating and firm nevertheless, that, despite their simplicity, they rarely fail to realise the exact degree of beauty or of character intended"--page 540.

Greenaway began a correspondence with Oxford Professor and art critic Ruskin in 1880 when he wrote to compliment her on her drawings. The two developed a long and close friendship until Ruskin's criticism of her later work ultimately eroded their relationship.