Photo credit: Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, mima
This is signed and dated D.W.W./1861 above and below the shield. Is this an early work by David Wilkie Wynfield? - Compare the Shipley Art Gallery's 'The Lady's Knight' https://bit.ly/3NwKmYF ; Rotherham's 'Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn' https://bit.ly/3AzfpjZ and the Royal Armouries' 'The Arrest of Anne Boleyn at Greenwich' https://bit.ly/3nwz4Js But what is the subject 'Romeo and Juliet' or some other subject inspired by literature? The coat of arms evidently provides a significant clue. [Group leader: Andrew Greg]
This discussion is now closed. Previously catalogued as 'The Tryst' and attributed to an artist in the circle of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882), this work was identified as David Wilkie Wynfield's 'Summer Hours', exhibited at the British Institution in 1862, no. 618.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. To anyone viewing this discussion for the first time, please see below for all the comments that led to this conclusion.
This might be an entirely different work, but looking at the listing of Wynfield’s exhibits at the British Institution the 1863 painting ‘The Young Raphael Showing one of his works to the Duchess of Urbino and Sora’, which attracted a comment in the Illustrated London News (both attached). However, the small size of this painting might count against this idea.
This is almost certainly Wynfield's 1862 exhibit at The British Institution, 'Summer Hours' (no. 618). A contemporary review in The Athenaeum (15 February 1862, p. 231) described it as "...two lovers conversing on a marble garden seat, is cleverly sketched an well composed."
The Art Journal's review, (Art Journal 1862, Volume I, p. 71) is more precise: "Italian in the costume and character of its figures, but also in the spirit of the painting. It contains a pair of lovers seated on a stone bench, but divided by the slab that serves as the common back for both sides. A better composition, we submit, would have resulted from grouping the two on this side."
This work cannot be ‘The Young Raphael Showing one of his Works to the Duchess of Urbino and Sora’. It reportedly included other figures.
It would not be Romeo and Juliet, as Romeo would look younger and would not have facial hair.
I just wondered how the other works are signed? Summer Hours seems entirely likely.
I think 'Summer Hours' is the most likely identification. I'll see if i can identify the heraldry.
The arms are those of the family of Wynfield,'Vert, on a bend argent three crosses patonce sable', which confirms Wynfield was the artist. The small crescent at the top of the escutcheon is a mark of cadency, and indicates that he must have been a second son.
Very neat (and fast): his good Wiki summary includes no standard art dictionary sources, though there's presumably an exhibition tally in Wood's 'Victorian Painters'
The is Abelard and Heloise on the Terrace
Here are Wynfield's entries from Wood and Johnson & Greutzner, Pieter. I tried to add fuller titles (in green) to the abbreviated bibliography in the former, but they've come out almost illegible - ask if you want to know the detail. I'm also attaching his BI exhibiting for easy access.
To my mind the exhibition date early in 1862 and detailed descriptions in the reviews found by Scott must make 'Summer Hours' all but certain - and if Abelard & Heloise were the intended subjects, surely it would have been titled so?
Note that he was not "distantly" related to Wilkie (as per Wikipedia), he was his great nephew.
The attribution and title seem incontrovertible: initials and arms point to David Wilkie Wynfield; the date of 1861 and description in reviews point to it being his 'Summer Hours', exh. BI, 1862, cat. 618. Thanks to Martin Hopkinson for raising the possibility and to Scott Thomas Buckle and Osmund Bullock for further pieces of solid evidence. I am inclined to close this.
In the absence of further comment, I am formally recommending the attribution and identification of subject: David Wilkie Wynfield (1837-1887); the date of 1861; and it being his 'Summer Hours', exh. BI, 1862, cat. 618.