'Lost' masterpiece for sale

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The Independent Online
A major Victorian work of art, lost for nearly a century, has been rediscovered and is expected to sell for up to pounds 400,000 later next month.

Christie's will sell Boreas, a late work from John William Waterhouse, after it was the shown to the London auctioneers were shown by a family who had bought the painting for a small amount in the 1930s. The painting, which depicts a young girl in a windswept landscape, has not been seen in public since its 1904 exhibition at the Royal Academy.

Martin Beisly, Christie's director of Victorian paintings, said that the picture had been given up as lost. "Its existence was known through published biographies of Waterhouse, but we didn't have an image until it appeared in the middle of last year. It was lost to us and, as far as we can tell, lost to the art world.

"Finding it is a great boost. It's a stunning picture by a stunning artist and our estimate of pounds 300,000 to pounds 400,000 is probably conservative."

Boreas, which was named after the north wind in Greek mythology, is a late work from Waterhouse, one of the most celebrated exponents of Victorian art. His other work includes The Lady of Shalot, on display at the Tate Gallery, Hylas and the Nymph, which is showing at Manchester City Art Gallery, and Ophelia. His last major studio sale was at Christie's in 1926.

Another two paintings, available at the 29 March sale, are Sir John Everett Millais's portrait of a small girl, Merry - likely to fetch pounds 80,000 to pounds 120,000 - and its companion piece, Pensive. Both were shown at the Royal Academy in 1893.