A sketch made by Eyre Crowe in 1855, showing the delivery of sculptures to the Exposition Universelle in Paris, was purchased by the V&A in London in 2012. An image of the sketch, together with information about it, has been made available on the V&A website. The sketch is remarkably similar to another: Crowe’s Delivery Entrance of Palais des Beaux Arts at the Exposition Universelle of 1855, which is now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The two sketches are the same size, and are on the same subject (the setting up of the artistic parts of the exhibition), and most likely were made within days of each other, in the same sketchbook – now broken up and the individual sketches sold off separately.
A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina is well known from engravings, such as the coloured version shown here, but the whereabouts of the original painting, first exhibited at The Royal Scottish Academy in 1854, has hitherto been unknown. It was discovered in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba, by staff at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and made known to the academic Maurie McInnes, whose research into the slave trade in Richmond, Virginia, and artistic representations of it, was based around Eyre Crowe’s even more famous painting, Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia (1861).
McInnes has now curated an exhibition at the Library of Virginia: To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade, which explores the dynamics of the slave trade. The exhibition features three of Eyre Crowe’s paintings: Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia, lent from the private collection of Teresa Heinz; After the Sale: Slaves Going South from Richmond (1853), lent by the Chicago History Museum; and a full-size facsimile of A Slave Sale in Charleston, South Carolina.
The exhibition is described in an article by the Richmond Times Dispatch, and is open until 30 May 2015.
A fascinating article by Maurie D. McInnes, professor of art history at the University of Virginia, is available online. It explores Eyre Crowe’s 1853 trip to Richmond, Virginia, and the legacy of the sketches and paintings that he made depicting the slave trade there. His most famous slavery painting, Slaves Waiting for Sale: Richmond, Virginia, was exhibited in London in 1861.
McInnis, Maurie D. “Eyre Crowe’s Images of the Slave Trade.” Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 4 Sep. 2013. Web. 26 Nov. 2014.
An auction house in South Africa is shortly to sell a landscape oil painting by Eyre Crowe. Originally entitled ‘The Poultry Yard‘ when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1900, it is now known as ‘Feeding the Chickens’.
The painting was last sold in Newbury, Berkshire, in 2005, for £800. Its most recent provenance is the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg. It will be sold on 11 November by Strauss and Co. auctioneers, at the Wanderers Club, Illovo, South Africa, as part of the South African and International Art auction. It is the first lot in the auction, with a guide price of 10-15,000 Rand (£600-£900).
The painting sold for 14,000 Rand (£847)
An auction house in Melbourne, Australia, is shortly to sell an original oil painting by Eyre Crowe. On 3 December, Leonard Joel Auctions will sell Thomas Carlyle Looking at the Duke of Buccleuch’s Miniatures of Cromwell, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 1895. An original label attached to the back of the painting explains that Crowe produced the painting from a sketch made in 1879, when the miniatures were displayed at Burlington House (the home of the Royal Academy).
The painting sold for $AUS 4,200 (£2,330).
Earlier this month, this pencil and charcoal drawing, Life drawing of a standing female nude (1846) was sold for £1,250 at Bonham’s in Chester. Nude works by Eyre Crowe are very rare indeed. It was probably drawn as part of an organised nude drawing class, either at the Royal Academy Schools (Crowe entered the schools as a probationer in July 1845) or at a private class or art club.
The Royal Academy’s collection of works of art, books, archives and exhibition catalogues can be searched online. There aren’t many results for Eyre Crowe – just some photographs – but a new series of catalogues of winter and special exhibitions has just been added to the database, and reveals that five of Eyre Crowe’s works were shown in the 1922 exhibition of Works by Recently Deceased Members of the Royal Academy:
- Portrait of Sir Joseph A. Crowe, K.C.M.G. C.B. (1891)
- Boulogne Fishmarket (1886)
- The Sun Bonnet (undated)
- Cook : a sketch (1853)
- Nurse : a sketch (1853)
Only the first of these works were previously known to me.
Eyre Crowe painted this picture of his sister Eugenie around the time of her wedding to Robert William Wynne. The painting is featured on the BBC – Your Paintings website, which also contains details of 11 other Crowe works owned by public institutions in the UK.
Maurie D. McInnes has just published Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade (Chicago University Press, 2011), which is a detailed and lavishly illustrated examination of Eyre Crowe’s picture Slaves Waiting For Sale (1861), as compared with other contemporary artworks relating to slavery in the American South.
Eyre Crowe visited the southern states of America in 1852-1853 and was intrigued and appalled by the slave trade there. His experiences led him to create a series of sketches and paintings intended to further the abolitionist cause. Each of these are described in more detail in the ‘Slavery Pictures’ part of this website.
The American owner of ‘Bob-Cherry‘ (1871) has very kindly got in touch to let me know that his family has been in possession of the painting since at least the 1940s – probably since its sale in London in 1937. He also sent a photograph of the painting, which tallies almost exactly with the descriptions of the work which appeared in newspaper reviews of the time. Click on the link to find out more about this painting of Bluecoat schoolboys at play.