John William Godward, “Summer Idleness: Day Dreams,” 1909, oil on canvas, 23 x 29 inches ($1,350,000)

The evolution of luxury and leisure in 19th-century England was remarkable as the country experienced profound change in scientific innovation, economic growth, and artistic exploration. As a new culture of leisure emerged, fueled by wealth and affluence, artists took note with brush and paint.

M.S. Rau Antiques will soon be opening a great exhibition featuring — among many other fantastic objects — works by some of the greatest English artists of the 19th century. On view from October 21 through January 20 at its French Quarter gallery in New Orleans, “Aristocracy: Luxury and Leisure in Britain” is a story about how British culture of the 19th century found itself at a crossroads.

Domenico Moglia, “Roman Forum Micromosaic,” circa 1850, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 x 73 5/8 inches ($985,000)

“While strict rules of etiquette still governed society, opulence and entertainment emerged as a driving socioeconomic force that became a central facet of aristocratic life,” the gallery writes. “Through an exploration of the elaborate leisure culture that defined the era, the exhibition will reveal the complex ways in which the English aristocracy displayed — and ultimately preserved — its vast wealth and social power in the face of a rapidly changing economic structure.”

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, “Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal,” 1825, oil on canvas, 28 x 36 inches ($598,000)

The selling exhibition features some incredible paintings, including John William Godward’s “Summer Idleness: Day Dreams,” Edwin Henry Landseer’s “Portrait of an Arab Mare with her Foal,” Domenico Moglia’s “Roman Forum Micromosaic,” “Portrait of a Lady” by Pieter Claesz, and “Caspar” by Jan van Bijlert.

To learn more and preview the objects included in the exhibition, visit M.S. Rau Antiques.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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