Smith, Carlton Alfred (1853-1946; English)
Christmas Eve 1901
Watercolour on paper, 74 x 122 cm
Purchased, 1901 (selected by the Royal Academy); de-accessioned and sold by auction, 1950; last auctioned 2008
Present location unknown

[photo: as reproduced by Sotheby’s, March 2008]

This large work was the most expensive of the 10 contemporary British watercolours bought in 1901. It typifies the artist’s sentimental approach to genre subjects, other examples bearing titles like Grandmother’s favourite and Thinking of Somebody.

De-accessioned from the Melbourne collection in 1950, it re-surfaced in 1992 at auction in London (under the title “Christmas Holly”). More recently, it was auctioned by Sotheby’s in London in 2008, selling for almost £30,000.


AR 1901, p.23; SB pp.545 (noting a loan to the Ballarat Art Gallery in 1913), and following p.546 (no.102), noting the de-accession and auction (25 Oct.1950); NGV 1905, p.77 (II.Stawell Gallery, no.168) [£200] 

Bénézit 12, p.1358, lists the 1992 auction result (3 June; 75 x 123 cm; GB£9,900). For the Sotheby’s auction, 6 March 2008 (lot 98; date and size as noted; estimate GB£20-30,000; hammer price including buyer’s premium GB£29,300, with a reproduction as shown here), see For the artist, see also Mallalieu (1976), p.239 (elected RI 1889); and for other examples by him, see