A magical fairy painting by popular 19th century artist John Simmons is expected to achieve £40,000-60,000 ($59,677-89,513) when it crosses the auction block at Bonhams London on July 10.
Bought for a mere £25 in 1935, the signed and dated watercolour, which features several characters from William Shakespeare's spirited play A Midsummer Night's Dream, has never been offered at auction previously.
Completed in 1873, the bewitching tableau depicts Act II, Scene II of Shakespeare's comedy, during which Titania - Queen of the fairies - is drugged by her lover, King Oberon, while she and her attendants slumber.
When the queen wakes, as a consequence of the potion administered to her, she is destined to fall in love with whomever she sees first, which happens to be Nick Bottom the weaver - a comic character whose head is transformed into that of an ass.
Peter Rees, Bonhams' director of 19th century paintings, remarks: "It is rare to find such a large and wonderful example of fairy painting. This exceptional picture is in excellent condition".
Stories and paintings detailing the travails of fairy folk were immensely popular in Victorian Britain, due, in part, to the work of Danish author and poet Hans Christian Andersen, who is best remembered for his fairy tales.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we currently have this rare strand of Andersen's hair in stock.
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