The Collector’s Study (1883)
BENJAMIN WALTER SPIERS (1845-1894)
Watercolour & bodycolour; signed with initials and dated 'B.W.S/1883' (on music paper lower centre)
In period frame
You’re lamentably more likely to find purple sofas and Harland Millers in the Notting Hill houses of today but this was what Benjamin Walter Spiers’ study at 17 Hereford Road looked like (a little contrived for the purposes of the painting one has to say) in 1883.
Spiers was an idiosyncratic English still life painter of prodigious skill. Christopher Wood considered him to be ‘one of the most remarkable painters of still-life in English Art’. He crammed his antiquarian pictures with books, furniture, objects and paintings – a number of which reappear in several of his still lives. He often drew corners of interiors of his favourite antique shops in London’s Wardour Street. Spiers was interested in possessions and their associative value rather than objects of nature and his curiosity for antiquarian objects, books, maps, prints and china is displayed with trompe-l’oeil accuracy in his watercolours. Spiers was curator of the Soane Museum and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1876 to 1891.
Benjamin Walter Spiers’s work has been offered at auction multiple times, the record price being 47,110 USD for Heirlooms sold at Sotheby’s London in 1998.