Sir Max Beerbohm

Quis Custodiet Ipsum Custodem


Not on display

Sir Max Beerbohm 1872–1956
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 349 × 286 mm
Bequeathed by Sir Hugh Walpole 1941

Catalogue entry

A01058 [from] ROSSETTI AND HIS FRIENDS (TWENTY-THREE DRAWINGS) 1916–17 [A01038-A01060; complete]
Bequeathed by Sir Hugh Walpole 1941.
Coll: Mrs Charles Hunter; from whom purchased by the Leicester Galleries; from whom purchased by Sir Hugh Walpole 1921.
Lit: Lynch, 1921, pp.146–50.

A series of twenty-three drawings, variously dated 1916 and 1917. Fifteen were lent by Mrs Charles Hunter to the Modern Loan Exhibition, Grosvenor Gallery, November 1917 (98); the complete series was first exhibited at the Leicester Galleries, September 1921 (1), in the order in which they are given here, again as Rossetti and his Friends. They were published in book form by Heinemann in 1922 as Rossetti and His Circle, possibly an allusion to Rossetti's Dante and His Circle, the second edition of his translations from the early Italian poets, published in 1874. The complete series of drawings was further exhibited in Paintings and Drawings of the 1860 Period, Tate Gallery, April–July 1923 (336), and was on loan to the Tate Gallery from June 1938. For further details, see below (artists represented in the collection will be fully discussed in the appropriate section of the catalogue).

(xxi) Inscr. ‘Quis Custodiet Ipsum Custodem? Theodore Watts: “Mr. Caine, a word with you! Shields and I have been talking matters over, and we are agreed that this evening and henceforth you must not and shall not read any more of your literary efforts to our friend. They are too - what shall I say? - too luridly arresting, and are the allies of insomnia.”’ b.r. and ‘Max 1916’ b.l.
Pencil and watercolour, 13 3/4×11 1/4 (35×28·5).
Exh: Grosvenor Gallery, November 1917 (98, 14); Leicester Galleries, September 1921 (21); Tate Gallery, April–July 1923 (336, 21); on loan to the Tate Gallery from June 1938.
Lit: Lynch, 1921, p.147, repr. facing p.144.
Repr: Rossetti and His Circle, 1922, pl.20 (in colour).

Theodore Watts (-Dunton) (1832–1914), writer and critic, was a steady friend of Rossetti in his declining years and later took Swinburne into his care. Frederic James Shields (1833–1911), painter and decorative artist, was another close friend of Rossetti from the mid 1860s and was at Birchington when he died. (Sir) Hall Caine (1853–1931), the novelist, first met Rossetti in 1878 and lived with him from 1881 till his death the following year; his sensational and very successful novels date in fact from after this period.

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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