Sculpture sold for almost £19k

IT IS only 20in high, but a bronze sculpture by Scarborough’s finest artist Lord Leighton sold at an auction for £18,750

The full size version of the sculpture, titled: The Sluggard, is owned by the Tate Gallery in London.

Experts accurately forecast that this reduced version would sell for between £15,000 and £25,000.

Christie’s say that The Sluggard was “probably inspired by Leighton’s model, Angelo Colorossi, seen stretching after a sitting.

But an oil painting regarded as “one of the most beautiful” by Leighton, failed to sell at an auction.

Leighton was in his early 40s when he produced his Portrait of May Sartoris in the early 1870s.

The 21in by 17in picture had been expected to sell for between £80,000 and £120,000 at Christie’s in London yesterday.

Leighton’s biographer, Richard Ormond, rates it as one of Leighton’s finest.

He says: “Considered purely as a piece of painting, this portrait is one of the most beautiful works in Leighton’s entire oeuvre.”

May Sartoris was the daughter of English opera singer, Adelaide Sartoris, and the niece of the actress Fanny Kemble.

May’s brother, Algernon, became the son-in-law of US President Ulysses S.Grant when he wed Grant’s only daughter, Nellie, at the White House in Washington on May 21 1874, at around the time Lord Leighton painted his picture of Algernon’s sister, May.

Miss Sartoris was in her late 20s when Leighton produced the picture. Sometime after she died in 1925, at the age of 80, the painting was inherited by her granddaughter, Judith Furse, a film actress who was Greer Garson’s travelling companion in the 1939 classic, Goodbye Mr Chips, starring Robert Donat, whose mother Rose was a Whitby girl.

Frederic Leighton was born in Scarborough 181 years ago this month – on December 3 1830.