Art collectors go wide-eyed at chance to own Millais's $161,000 Somnambulist



2015-06-26 12:24:41

Art collectors go wide-eyed at chance to own Millais's $161,000 Somnambulist

Millais's depiction of a sleep walking woman is expected to star at Bonhams' July 13 auction

The Somnambulist by Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir John Everett Millais will be a highlight of Bonhams' 19th Century Paintings auction in London on July 13.

It is estimated to sell for 70,000-100,000, a figure that may well tempt many investors.

Wilkie Collins's novel The Woman in White was published in 1860 and proved immensely popular - it is thought it may have provided Millais with inspiration for the painting of the sleep-walking woman.

Upon completion in 1871, the Illustrated London News commented on the figure in the painting: "Her peril as she walks with wide-open yet unseeing eyes along the verge of the sea-cliffs is intimated without the least approach to obtrusive sensationalism".

 Millaiss malaise-inducing The Somnambulist

Millais (1829-1896) was a founding member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848. His later works, such as The Somnambulist, reveal the influence of the American artist Whistler.

Charles O'Brien, the head of 19th century pictures at Bonhams, comments: "This ethereal-looking work of a vulnerable girl in her delicate Victorian nightgown beautifully shows the development of Millais's later, looser style of painting."

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