It seems that American museums recognise Margaret Rope’s talent more than British.
No British museum that has any of her glass pieces*, yet two of her early glass panels were recently snapped up at art auctions at Christie’s by American buyers. The pieces sold for more than three times their guide price at the auction in June this year.
The first, The Welle of Love (inspired by the Chaucer poem) is the better piece of the two, which means it may be later (?), but the date of creation is uncertain, except that it is pre-1910.
The second, Goblin Market, appears to be based on designs by Laurence Housman (in turn inspired by the Christina Rossetti poem); and is a student piece, dated to 1905. (Margaret Rope created two pieces called ‘Goblin Market’; the larger of the two is in a private collection in Suffolk).
Both are just under two feet square, and, interestingly, are on poetic subjects that we might describe as more likely to have been done by Pre-Raphaelite artists – and in fact Marga would concentrate in her later main career virtually completely on sacred scenes.
Internet searches now find Goblin Market on the Metropolitan Museum Online Catalogue; and the major Californian museum the Los Angeles County Museum bought The Welle Of Love.
How crazy it is that a British museum did not acquire these pieces…
* Footnote (2019). Since the time this article has written, Shrewsbury Museum has acquired, on long-term loan, Margaret Rope’s Judith & Holofernes’. It is displayed in the museum’s entrance and thus is free to view.
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