Sir Frank Dicksee’s Painting gets Highest Pre-Auction Estimate at 19th-Century European Art Sale

Sir Frank Dicksee’s painting “Yseult” will be presented at Sotheby’s upcoming auction, “19th-Century European Art” to be held on February 1, 2019, in New York. The painting gets the highest pre-auction value around USD 1,000,000- USD 2,000,000.


It is an oil painting on canvas and is signed “FRANK DICKSEE” and dated 1901. “Frank Dicksee’s spectacular canvas, ‘Yseult,’ was inspired by Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, also known as ‘The Whole Book of King Arthur’ and the ‘Knights of the Round Table.’ A fertile source of subjects for 19th-century painters, it created a craze for Medievalism and romance among the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and their followers, which has endured among artists, filmmakers, and audiences to this day,” states the auction house.


According to the press release of the auction house, “The present lot depicts the daughter of King Hoel of Brittany, Princess Yseult of the White Hands, the wife of Sir Tristram. She is not to be confused with her love-rival also named Yseult, wife of King Mark of Cornwall — who was the subject of pictures by Dicksee’s contemporaries John William Waterhouse, Herbert Draper, and Edward Burne-Jones. Given the psychological complexity of her narrative, Princess Yseult was a more unusual subject to choose, and Dicksee devised a simple but dramatic composition. Sitting high in an opulent golden chair at her tapestry-loom, the princess gazes across the ocean where the dawning light breaks the gloom of a long, cold night. She has been waiting for the arrival of Queen Yseult, King Mark’s wife, whose ship may appear on the horizon. The Queen has been summoned to the deathbed of Sir Tristram, to whom she was bound by a powerful love potion, since before she was married to King Mark. Sir Tristram has been told that if Queen Yseult is safely aboard a ship bearing white sails, she will be blissfully reunited with him in his last hours. Seeing white sails on the horizon and consumed by jealousy, Princess Yseult tells her husband that a vessel has been spotted with black sails. His life ebbs away in grief as the ship lands on the shores of his kingdom.”


Inspired by Pre-Raphaelitism, Frank Dicksee is considered to be one of the greatest exponents of this style.

Founder: Louise Blouin


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