I ran across this painting while browsing Christie's website (hey, a girl can dream). It was pained by Robert Bateman(1842-1922), a lesser known artist who is considered more a member of the aesthetic movement than of the pre-raphaelite movement (i.e., he most likely preferred velvet knee-pants to medieval inspired garb).
Bateman was only known to have created 32 paintings during his career, and few have survived. His most well-known work, the Pool of Bethseda, was actually attributed to another artist with the same initials ( Richard Beavis )until 1965! His work has gained recognition over the past few decades as a result of its inclusion in several high-profile Pre-Raphaelite Exhibitions, including The Last Romantics, which appeared at the Barbican Art Gallery in 1989, and The Age of Rossetti, Burne-Jones and Watts: Symbolism in Britain 1860-1910, held at the Tate Gallery in 1997. Bateman was a tremendous fan of Edward Burne-Jones work and a accomplished artist in his own right, but he also pursued gardening and sculpture.
As for this painting, most people assume that the figures depicted are star-crossed lovers Heloise and Abelard, but nobody knows for sure, since Bateman didn't actually give a name to the picture himself. I'm interested to know what you guys think! I do think it's clearly a painting of two lovers whose time is running out. If you click to enlarge the painting, you'll see that Bateman has inscribed the phrase "carpe diem" near the base of the sundial. You will also note the dying sunflower draped over the sundial. (again, it's tough to think of two famous historical or fictional lovers whose time wasn't running out).
The painting is expected to fetch between £30,000 - £50,000 at auction ($46,350 - $77,250 USD).
For more information, visit Christie's website