Sir David Wilkie
Interior of a Cottage: Study for ‘The Irish Whiskey Still’ 1835

Artwork details

Sir David Wilkie 1785–1841
Interior of a Cottage: Study for ‘The Irish Whiskey Still’
Date 1835
Medium Graphite, ink and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 177 x 258 mm
Acquisition Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Wilkie was the most important British painter of scenes from familiar life during the early part of the nineteenth century. In mid-1835 he visited Ireland for the first time. The picturesque nature of what he called the 'primeval simplicity' of the peasants' life gave him a wealth of 'perfectly new and untouched' material. As a result, Wilkie made a number of sketches for possible pictures. This vigorous drawing, made in a humble hut, provided him with the background for an oil painting 'The Irish Whiskey Still' which he painted in 1839. The figures and other details of the interior which Wilkie included in the finished painting were based on other Irish sketches he had made.

September 2004