Bournemouth: 1900. First Edition. Framed. RARE: ORIGINAL PLANS FOR AN ADDITION TO SKERRYVORE, Robert Louis Stevenson's home in Bournemouth where he had the famous dream which inspired his great work "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", which tale, among other great works, he wrote at Skerryvore. The Plans were prepared in 1900 for Heywood Sumner, Esq., a successor in ownership, for the addition of a Studio to the house. [Heywood Sumner -- George Heywood Maunoir Sumner -- was the well-known English painter, illustrator and art-craftsman who was closely involved with the Arts and Crafts movement and the late-Victorian London art world. Sumner, who was qualified as a Barrister, also employed much of his time as an amateur archaeologist, geologist, naturalist, and folklorist.] Skerryvore, whose lawns ran down from the house to Alum Chine Road, is where Stevenson lived from 1885 until his departure for Samoa (where he died in 1894). Thus, the Plans were prepared soon after his departure and show the house as it existed when Stevenson owned it, together with the proposed Studio addition. A "wedding present" from Stevenson's father to Stevenson and his wife, Fanny, approximately four years after their marriage -- most likely the father's attempt to keep his peripatetic son near to him in his last years -- Stevenson came to legal ownership of it upon his father's death in 1887. Named after "Skerryvore", the tallest lighthouse in Scotland and one designed by his uncle, Alan Stevenson, who, like Stevenson's father, was a leading lighthouse engineer, the house was destroyed by German bombs on November 16, 1940. There now stands in its place a memorial garden containing a statue of the lighthouse for which the home was named. With some tears and minor loss, these ORIGINAL PLANS are in quite nice condition overall, are unique to the market, and likely comprise the only plans for this important house available, or hereafter likely to be available, for purchase. An important record of Stevenson's house, a LITERARY LANDMARK, and a rare opportunity for the Collector. RARE INDEED [PLEASE NOTE: Buyer's shipping cost for this item will exceed the shipping cost quoted by this site.]
Second portrait, 1885:
"Sargent was down again and painted a portrait of me walking about in my own dining-room, in my own velveteen jacket, and twisting as I go my own moustache; at one corner a glimpse of my wife, in an Indian dress, and seated in a chair that was once my grandfather’s," wrote Stevenson, in an 1885 letter describing the result.
"It is, I think, excellent, but is too eccentric to be exhibited."
Sargent painted the couple at Skerryvore, the home in Bournemouth inherited from Stevenson’s father and named after a lighthouse the family firm built in Argyll, Scotland. He subsequently gave the work to the author, signing it to RL Stevenson, from "his friend", John S Sargent, and dated 1885.
The painting is described in the catalogue as "the best known and most widely recognised of the striking, informal portraits John Singer Sargent began painting in the early 1880s".
Robert Louis Stevenson
Artist:John Singer Sargent (American, Florence 1856–1925 London)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:20 1/16 x 24 5/16 in. (51 x 61.8 cm)
Credit Line:Bequest of Charles Phelps and Anna Sinton Taft, Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
Not on view
This is the third of Sargent’s portraits of Stevenson (1850–1894). Like the double portrait nearby, it was painted in Stevenson’s home in Bournemouth, England. Unlike in the previous portrait, Stevenson, who was in frail health at the time, is still and centered within the confines of the vertical canvas. He is anchored in the stable wicker chair, though his lankiness remains evident in his long, crossed legs, which extend to the edge of the frame. Amid this stillness, Sargent painted the lush carpet with energetic dabs. Boston banker Charles Fairchild commissioned the work as a gift for his wife, an ardent fan of the author. Very Good +. Item #60