Prospero releasing Ariel from the Tree

Arthur Bentley Connor
(fl. 1903-1918) British
Title Prospero releasing Ariel from the Tree
Category Recently Sold
Medium & Size Oil on canvas: 60x37 inc. (Frame: 67 x 44 Inc.) Signed & dated 1911 l/l
Price Band £10,000 - £20,000
Location Hungerford

Commissioned by the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre the painting shows Prospero in his magic robes in act 5.1 of ‘The Tempest’ releasing Ariel from his prison inside a tree, before finally renouncing magic. The Dragonfly almost certainly represents one of the characters in Prospero’s circle, and Calaban as the toad.

Arthur Bentley Connor was a portrait painter from London who exhibited at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and the Royal Academy from 1903-18.
Provenance: This fabulous painting was commissioned by theShakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford –Upon-Avon for the production of ‘The Tempest’ by the Royal Shakespeare Company which opened July 31, 1911.

According to the artists daughter the painting was returned to her father for restoration after being damaged by a fire at the theatre. The Great War then took place and the painting remained in the artist’s possession and never returned to the theatre. The theatre was finally destroyed in the great fire of 6 March, 1926 (and not re-built until 1932).The picture remained with the artist until his death, and left to his daughter-Isabel Ward, née Conner. The painting was sold by Isabel Ward together with a note of provenance in 2002.The artists restoration to fire damage has since been carefully reversed and the painting conserved and restored using modern techniques to museum standards.

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