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This is a large fine 19th century painting depicting the imminent assassination of French Huguenot leader Admiral Gaspard de Coligny by agents of Catherine de Medici and Philip II of Spain by the eminent Victorian history painter William Holmes Sullivan RCA (1836-1908). ‘The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre’ is signed by the artist and dated 1877. It hangs in its original gilded Pre Raphaelite frame.

As with all of the original antique paintings we sell it is offered in excellent condition, having just undergone a full technical assessment and fitted with anti-reflection, conservation grade UV protection Museum Glass®. Museum Glass® is the finest glazing option available for watercolour paintings. Along with its nearly invisible finish it effectively blocks up to 99% of harmful indoor and outdoor UV light rays, less than 1% light reflection, UV protection, high optical clarity and over 97% light transmission providing the highest brightness and contrast levels available.

On August 24th 1572 Gaspard de Coligny was murdered by Catholic assassins and his severed head sent to Pope Gregory XIII by Catherine de Medici. As seen in the painting, Admiral de Coligny’s friend Pastor Merlin escaped through a secret passage. What became known as the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre claimed the lives of up to 30,000 people.

William Holmes Sullivan was a celebrated history painter who specialised in dramatic battle scenes and figural pictures taken from the works of William Shakespeare. He exhibited at the Royal Academy, the Royal Society of Artists and at the Royal Cambrian Academy, of which he was a member.

• We are grateful to Professor Nicola Watson for her expertise and kind assistance with the cataloguing of this work.

Dimensions: (framed) 123cm x 93cm (48¼” x 36¾”)
Dimensions: (canvas only) 101cm x 72cm (39¾” x 28¼”)
Medium: Watercolour.
Provenance: Private UK collection.
Presentation: Fine quality original mid-19th century gilded Pre Raphaelite frame.
Condition: Excellent. Ready to hang.

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