R. Arnold (active in England, c. 1682) A vanitas still life with musical instruments, a globe and other objects. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010
signed 'Arnold fec.' (lower right), oil on canvas, 42½ x 71½ in. (108 x 181.6 cm.), inscribed 'IDEM PRAES TANT IN TABULA ORDO ET DISPOSITIO QUOD IN MUSICA HARMONIA' (on parchment, lower right). Estimate $80,000 - $120,000 Unsold
Provenance: with Peter Tillou, New York.
Property from a private collection.
Notes: This sophisticated still-life reflects vanitas themes in the combination of a globe, clock, book and signed music sheet with the quote IDEM PRAES TANT IN TABULA ORDO ET DISPOSITIO QUOD IN MUSICA HARMONIA - 'Just as in music there is harmony, so in painting there is order and there is composition'. The musical instruments to the left of the image, including a flute, violin and a lute, allude to the parallel between the fleeting nature of music and time. Other symbols of the fleet passage of time are found in the snuffed flamed of the candle and the prominent bracket-clock.
Little is known about the artist R. Arnold. His works reflect the influence of contemporary Dutch still-life artists working in Britain such as John Vandervaart and Pieter Gerritz. van Roestraeten. Waterhouse points out that the only other signed painting by Arnold appeared at auction in the Browne sale (Tyrwhitt-Drake Collection), held at Christie's on 25 July 1952. On a smaller scale than the present picture, it depicted a bracket clock, a violin, some gold chains, and a sheet of music, and was inscribed Arnold 1682. The larger and more refined present lot shares much with the still lives of Edward Collier, who worked in England in the 1690s.
Christie's. Old Masters & 19th Century Art Including Select Works From the Salander-O'Reilly Galleries. 9 June 2010. New York, Rockefeller Plaza www.christies.com