Lowell Libson & Jonny Yarker Ltd

  • Pen and ink
  • 4 ¾ × 6 ¾ inches · 115 × 172 mm
  • Drawn c. 1700


  • Francis Place, by descent to;
  • Patrick Allan Fraser (1812-1890);
  • And by descent to Fraser sale, Sotheby’s 10 June 1931;
  • Sir Bruce Ingram (1877-1963);
  • P. & D. Colnaghi;
  • Eileen & Herbert C. Bernard, New York, to 2017

This characterful sketchbook sheet contains figure studies that Place would have used as staffage in his finished landscape drawings. 

Judging from the fontange headdresses on the female figures in the top left corner and in the centre of the middle row, and the men with large centrally parted wigs, this was drawn in France in the first decade of the eighteenth century. However, other figures are Near Eastern in character. Given their miscellaneous characters, therefore, perhaps these are not life studies that Place made on his travels but are instead either based on prints or else intended as a study for a print. A contemporary model was Sebastian Le Clerc (1637-1714) whose tiny etched copy book Quelques figures, chevaux, paysages (1696/1700) was widely used in England. Though this is not Place’s direct source, Le Clerc's etchings may have been Place's inspiration, for both Place and Le Clerc use the same range of poses intended to be inserted into landscapes: men looking to the right with outstretched arms, ladies with fans, men bowing and labourers carrying sacks.