9. George Richmond. Dawn. Oil on panel, 35.0 x 40.7 cm., inscribed on the back “The moon is up. I have not / heard the clock. and she / goes down at twelve. / G. Richmond.” The absence of human figures and the loose, painterly, and atmospheric style are unusual for Richmond; the work would probably not be attributable to him without the verso inscription. Possibly datable to the late 1820s or early 1830s when Richmond, Palmer, and others among Blake’s youthful followers were interested in moonlit scenes. “Their motto was ‘Poetry and Sentiment’, and at night they rambled over the nearby countryside by moonlight or in thunderstorms, or sat on campstools in the open air, reciting poetry to one another, and sometimes acting scenes from Macbeth” (Raymond Lister, George Richmond: A Critical Biography [London: Robin Garton, 1982] 15). The inscription on the painting, quoted here from the CSK cat. of 16 March, is from the beginning of act 2, scene 1, of Macbeth, with “the moon is down” changed to “the moon is up.” The 1st 10 words are spoken by Fleance, the remainder by Banquo. Richmond’s engraving of 1827, “The Fatal Bellman,” includes an inscription from Macbeth, act 2, scene 2: “It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bell-man.” Lister mentions “a drawing” by Richmond “of Lady Macbeth of about 1825” (124). Dawn previously sold SL, 31 March 1976, #96.

Digital image courtesy of Christie’s London.