Waterhouse's Juliet to lead Victorian art at $1.1m

Juliet by John William Waterhouse will star as the top lot in Christie's December 11 auction of Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art in London.

John William Waterhouse
John William Waterhouse continued the pre-Raphaelite style long after the movement had lost popularity

A unique composition, the work depicts Juliet from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet. Shakespeare works are a popular subject choice in the Victorian era. It is expected to sell for £500,000-£700,000 ($789,500-$1,105,300).

Waterhouse (1849-1917), best known for his work the Lady of Shallot, was heavily influenced by both pre-Raphaelite and impressionist artists, leading to his nickname "the modern pre-Raphaelite". He is famed for his sumptuous depictions of women, often based on mythological figures.

Despite Juliet being one of Shakespeare's best known characters, Waterhouse only painted her once. The work went on show at London's New Gallery in 1898, in the same summer that he displayed pieces at the Royal Academy.

The record for Waterhouse's work is held by St Cecilia, which made £6.6m ($10.4m) in June 2000.

Also featuring is Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones' The Madness of Sir Tristram, which is valued at £400,000-£600,000 ($631,600-$947,400).

Signed "E.B.J", the work is inscribed "So would Sir Tristram/come onto that harp and harken the/melodious sound thereof and sometimes/he would harp himself thus he endured/there a quarter of a year," on a tablet in the upper corner.

A further inscription reads: "This Picture, being painted in WATER/COLOUR, would be injured by the slight-/est moisture./Great care must be used whenever/it is removed from the Frame./Edward Burne-Jones."

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