The large 2ft 2in x 20in (67 x 52cm) drawing, inscribed S.S and 1892, depicts an androgynous-looking Mercury in his winged helmet and high, military-style collar by a banner reading Sangreal (Holy Grail) and the words The Knight of the Lords Passion to the picture’s base.
Consigned in a modern frame alongside the decorative contents from the local estate of Lady Joan Ruth Kings Norton, it was initially overlooked as one of the many contemporary reproductions made of the artist’s work and estimated at £40-60. The auction house was quick to realise the error, however, researching and re-cataloguing the drawing before it went under the hammer.
On the day, it was contested by seven phones and bidders in the room, before it was hammered down at £13,800 to an anonymous buyer on the phone.
Solomon produced several studies and paintings of the winged god, including a smaller full-face pencil drawing from 1885 that sold at Christie’s in June 2015 for a premium-inclusive £6875.