In advance of our summer exhibition, which will include a number of significant recent acquisitions, we have organised an online exhibition of portrait drawings, pastels and watercolours. This show is the result of a spring clean, as during our annual stock take we realised we had a fascinating group of works that had mostly, for one reason, or another not made it into one of our annual catalogues: we therefore decided to put together an online show.
Amongst them, the majority of which are priced well under £20,000, are works by the leading painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We are excited to include two drawings by William Blake from the ‘Blake Varley Sketchbook' showing the manifestations that Blake and Varley drew late at night in 1819. These drawings were made at one of the most electric moments of Blake’s creativity and the present two drawings, have not been on the market since the dispersal of the sketchbook at auction in 1971. John Varley himself is represented in a rare and important portrait drawing by his friend John Linnell. Famous faces include a previously unrecorded drawing of William Wordsworth by John Scarlett Davis, Nathaniel Dance’s tender depiction of the celebrated dancer, Eva Maria Garrick and George Cruickshank’s miniature study of William Pitt the Younger made for publication in The Pocket Magazine.
A particular highlight is the drawing by Sarah Singleton of the great landscape painter Philip James de Loutherbourg. The frank, intelligent portrait was published in lithograph in 1798 and offers important evidence of the work of a professional female painter at the end of the eighteenth century. Singleton exhibited works continually at the Royal Academy from 1787 until 1806, although this ad vivum study seems to be a rare survival. We know she had privileged access to Royal Academicians, as she shared the studio of her cousin, Henry Singleton who was painting his great group portrait The Royal Academicians in General Assembly at the same date.
Amongst the most engaging studies, is a cartoon by the amateur draughtsman Sir Charles D’Oyly satirising the difficulties of picking up the brush after a period away from the easel, entitled: ‘The Consequence of not having drawn for 6 months’ it shows D’Oyly seated at his easel painting a landscape, surrounded by abortive drawings inscribed ‘can’t draw – all failures – trees like cabbages!’ The self-effacing self-portrait, is particularly interesting because it gives a vivid impression of the interior of D’Oyly’s painting room in Calcutta.
We hope that the 30 drawings grouped together here offer something for collectors at a range of levels with opportunities to acquire rare and interesting works by significant figures at tempting prices.
All the works are now available for purchase and may be viewed in the gallery. They are sold framed, unless where specifically stated.
Please call or email us if you have any questions.