Images: www.sothebys.com (scanned from auction catalogue).
The Illustrated London News, 23 April 1904, mentions a picture by Annie on display at the New Gallery called ‘Faith’ …
with the strong expression of the face – an expression without the aid of eyes, for they are closed – might also be a Joan of Arc; the head is thrown back, in intense meditation, and the hands rest on the cross of a sword.
Similar comments referring to a picture called ‘Faith’ are made in the Whitchapel Gallery Spring Exhibition catalogue, 1907, so Annie’s original title for this work may have been ‘Faith.’ The painting is, however, universally referred to today as ‘Joan of Arc.’ (In Annie’s posthumous studio sale there was an item, lot 157, ‘Study for Joan of Arc.’)
Sotheby’s, 3 Oct 2007, auction catalogue, report of condition:
“STRUCTURE Relined SURFACE Paint loss appears in the lower right hand corner approximately 1 inch horizontally ¼ inch vertically. There are areas of surface craquelure which appears mainly to the left hand side of Joan’s head and an area to the right of her head which is starting to lift. There is also evidence that the canvas has been extended by the artist and this is viewable in the catalogue illustration: a horizontal line at the top approx 3 inches from the edge and two vertical lines, one on the left hand side approximately 5 inches from the edge and on the right hand side approximately 6 inches from the edge, a horizontal line approximately 3 inches from the bottom edge. Some scuff marks appear along the edges where the frame has rubbed against the canvas. The picture appears dirty and should benefit from cleaning. UNDER ULTRA VIOLET There are some sweeps of restoration which appear around Joan’s head and continue further down the left hand side. Some retouchings also appear along the lines where the canvas has been extended. FRAME Contained in a plain silver and gilt frame. COLOUR COMPARISON The colours are deeper and stronger than the catalogue illustration suggests.”
A photograph in The Times, 25 Nov 1922, shows Annie standing by two pictures. One is The Southing of the Sun, or a close copy of it. The other is Joan of Arc, but the image has differences to the version known today, most noticeably the arched corners of the picture. It is either another version or Annie reworked parts of the canvas after the photo was taken.
The armour has been identified by Dr Nicolas P. Baptiste of the University of Savoy, south-east France, as a “breastplate from Istanbul, from the old Collection of the late Baron Zouche, Robert Curzon [1810-1873], who used to be a diplomat and could have brought the armour from Turkey.” A remarkable piece of observation. There are minor differences, but it is a very close match.
- Media: oil on canvas.
- Dimensions: 790 x 890 mm (0.70 m²), Sotheby’s 2006 and 2007.
- History: 1900-1905; exhibited New Gallery, 1904; Whitchapel Art Gallery, 1907; this or another version, present in Annie’s studio and visible in photo in The Times, 25 Nov 1922; auctioned Sotheby’s, 23 Jun 1981; auctioned Christie’s, Rome, 4 Dec 1984; auctioned Sotheby’s, London, 14 Dec 2006, unsold; auctioned Sotheby’s, London, 3 Oct 2007, unsold.
- Location: unknown.
There are similarities to Illusions – armour, chain mail, and red drape over the left arm.