View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This drawing is quite dirty and discoloured; the artist's use of a fixative, and the constant handling the drawing subsequently received, have led to its poor condition. When this fixative was tested with water it became sticky, suggesting some form of glue was used, possibly a starch paste adhesive. Field's instruction manual, Chromatography 1835, recommends fixing graphite
with water-starch prepared in the manner of the laundress of such strength as to form a jelly when cold; which may be applied with a broad camel's hair brush. This may also be done with a thin, cold isinglass size or rice water.
Gallery label, August 2004