William Clarke Wontner
1857-1930 | BritishPortrait of a Beauty
Signed and dated "W. Wontner 1918" (lower left)
Oil on canvas
Classical beauty and technical precision define this painting by British Neoclassical artist William Clarke Wontner. Although his career was largely devoted to formal portraits, he is best celebrated today for his classical maidens idling before cool marble backdrops. The present work, with a singular focus on the sitter, showcases Wontner's talent as a portraitist as well as the classical vision for which he is renowned today.
Entitled Portrait of a Beauty
, this painting demonstrates Wontner at his most impressive. The artist is admired for his precision in rendering the surfaces of marble and the flowing movement of classical costumes. Within this perfectly composed world, Wontner heightens the inherent sensuality of his subject through a masterful use of contrast. The vivid, jewel-like tones of her flowing tunic and veil seem especially rich as they fall over her tanned skin and sit against the smooth, veined marble structure.
Wontner, along with John William Godward, is considered among the top British Neoclassical artists of his time, and in fact, the two painters enjoyed a friendship and working relationship. They became acquainted after Godward apprenticed under Wontner’s father, noted architect William Hoff Wontner, who taught him architectural rendering. William Clarke Wontner studied under Godward for a time, and his influence is easily noticed in Wontner’s Neoclassical works.
Wontner exhibited his work at the Royal Academy, the Society of British Artists and the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. Today, his works reside in the collections of museums such as the National Portrait Gallery (London) and the Harris Museum (Preston, UK)
Canvas: 25" high x 21" wide
Frame: 36" high x 32" wide