- Museum number
Strigils and Sponges (opus 197); three Roman women bathing, with fountain in the form of a dolphin and boy entwined, in foreground, part of a mosaic. 1879
Watercolour, strengthened with gum (?)
- Production date
Height: 302 millimetres
Width: 143 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The watercolour is mounted with an etching after it, a touched working proof, by Paul Adolphe Rajon (Beraldi 75; see 1968-7-2-1).
This watercolour is not included in Swanson's catalogue of oil-paintings. It bears a strong similarity to an oil painting 'A Safe Confidant' completed the year before in 1878 (Swanson 241) which itself derives from another painting 'An antique custom' of 1876 (Swanson 206). 'Sponges and Strigils' incorporates a Roman sculpture 'Cupid and Dolphin' now in the Museo Nazionale Archeologico, Naples. Alma-Tadema owned two photographs of the sculpture, part of his vast photographic archive now housed in the Department of Special Collections (Heslop Library), University of Birmingham Library. The photographs are in Portfolio XII, no.8012 and no.8013. The latter resembles most closely that selected for the watercolour. (Information from Donato Esposito)
Alma-Tadema was awarded a Gold Medal at the Exposition Internationale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in 1897 for the three works he showed there; two oil paintings and 'Sponges and Strigils'.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1879 London, Society of Painters in Watercolours, no.241
1887 Manchester, Royal Jubilee Exhibition, no.1477
1897, Brussels, Exposition Internationale des Beaux-Arts, no.275
1901, Glasgow, International Exhibition, no.1109
1948 Spring, Sotheby's (?), according to register
1980, British Museum, British Figure Drawings (no.cat)
1983/4 Nov-Jan, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, 'The Nude', no.35
1996/7 Nov-Mar, Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum, 'Lawrence Alma-Tadema'
1997 Mar-June, Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, 'Alma-Tadema', no.52
2001/2 Oct-Jan, London, Tate Britain, 'Exposed: Victorian Nude', no.71
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
Acquired by French from the Mitchell Galleries, who are thought to have acquired it at a Sotheby sale in the Spring of 1948.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number