Original Sketch of Paganini Makes a Rare Appearance at Auction
VanClay, Mary, Strings
Original sketch of Paganini makes a rare appearance at auction
On October 13, this pencil drawing of Nicolo Paganini, by Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873), went up for auction at Phillips in London. It was sold as lot 27 for L7,130 ($12,120), at the high end of its estimated price. The piece, measuring 103/4 by 8 1/2 inches, is signed with Landseer's monogram.
The story behind the sketch, simply titled "Paganini Playing the Violin," is a charming one. Landseer drew it while at a soiree given by the English Countess Blessington at Gore House in 1831. Her salon was well known as a gathering place for the poets, writers, and artists of the day. During this period, Paganini had been touring Europe, at first dazzling his audiences, especially throughout Germany. However, by the time he left Paris in April 1931, he was plagued by criticism because he had refused to play at a benefit concert there. The public began to view him as avaricious, and bad press followed him to London for his June debut. …