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Book Description

Thé Complete Transcript of the court case regarding the Romney portrait of Mrs Sarah Siddons (actress) & her younger sister Miss Fanny Kemble, which took place from May 15th - May 23rd 1917. ‘The jury box was packed with R.A.’s. In the front row sat the president, Sir Edward Poynter, the Hon. John Collier and Sir Luke Fildes. A scattering of hatless women art students in the gallery, the body of the court was composed of keen dealers in pictures and famous frame fashioners.’ Two Royal 4to Albums, bound in quarter maroon leather with gilt lettering to spine. Worn but solid. Original floral endpapers. Contains pp. 330 of typescript, pasted to one side of leaf only, plus related newspaper clippings of the trial. Occasional ink spelling and grammatical corrections. Some small institutional stamps to margins.
Dealer Notes
The large painting - 10 feet in length, was purchased by Mr Henry Edwards Huntington, a wealthy American Railway Magnate, from Messrs Lewis and Simmons, Art Dealers of New Bond Street, London. For which he paid £20,000.
He claimed the painting was not by George Romney (1734-1802) nor was it of Mrs Sarah Siddons and Fanny Kemble.
Many expert witnesses were called for & against.
One artist, The Hon. John Collier Saïd it could not possibly be a Romney as the painting depicted her as ‘Knock-kneed, Arm like a leg of mutton, Hand fat & shapeless, Feet too small - absurd, idiotic’ causing much laughter in court.
Other witnesses were - Sir E. J. Pointer (President of the R.A.), Sir Luke Fields (R.A.), Sir Walter Armstrong (Director National Gallery of Ireland), Mr Norman Hunt (Engraver), Prof. A.P. Laurie (Scottish Chemist who pioneered the scientific analysis of paintings), Mr Percy Macquoid, Mr Edward Hazell Vicars (Picture Dealer, Old Bond Street) - Said ‘The arms and drapery look like the burst tyres of a bicycle hung on a peg’ Not a Romney. Otto Charles Henry Gutekunst, Mr Edward W. Dibdin (Curator Liverpool Art gallery & Romney expert) thought it was by Romney.

After 8 days, it was proved that the artist was Oziah Humphrey (1742-1810) not George Romney & the ladies were The Waldegrave Sisters.
The £20,000 was returned to Mr Huntington with interest & costs. Lewis then offered the painting to The National Gallery.
Author Mr Justice Darling
Date 1917
Binding Quarter Maroon Leather
Publisher -
Illustrator -
Condition Very Good
Pages 330pp

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