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Focus on: ‘Sunday morning’ by Alma-Tadema

21 October 2016 by Simon Birtall

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Sunday Morning, Alma-Tadema

With the recent rediscovery of a ‘lost’ work by Dutch artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow it brought to mind another overlooked treasure by Alma-Tadema.

At Sudley House we are privileged to have the modestly hung Sunday Morning by Sir Alma-Tadema. This light-sensitive work on paper is permanently on display at Sudley, tucked behind a protective curtain.

Working at Sudley House it is a pleasure to draw this little treasure to the attention of visitors. This is the only work using watercolours on display at Sudley.

Sensitively painted on a surface little larger than an A4 sheet of paper, the exquisite detail in Sunday Morning demonstrates what can be achieved on such a small scale.

Painted around the time Alma-Tadema moved to London in 1870, Sunday Morning depicts a dimly-lit wood-panelled room in which a nursemaid stands cradling a child, the upper and left contours of each figure beautifully delineated by natural light from large ornate windows.

Sunday Morning is essentially a re-working of the right half of one of the artist’s earlier paintings: The Visit: A Dutch Interior. Painted in 1868 and now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, this was thought to have earned the artist the Knighthood of the Order of the Dutch Lion.

Alma-Tadema’s first landscape version includes two additional figures on the left hand side, which appear to be excluded from the version on display at Sudley House.  The Mother of the child, and a seated attendant at her side are also shown in the earlier painting.

A third version dating to around 1871, painted in oils with a much re-worked composition, echoes the portrait format of the version at Sudley House. The third version is again different to the others, it includes another figure and shows a different view through the window. This painting currently belongs to Tate.

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Peaking behind the curtain

How fascinating it would be to view all three pieces side-by-side!

So next time you visit Sudley, do keep an eye out for Sunday Morning and draw back those curtains, you may be pleasantly surprised!

 

Explore the rest of our Sudley collections online.

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