Sir David Wilkie

Study of a Head for ‘The Rabbit on the Wall’

c.1815

Artist
Sir David Wilkie 1785–1841
Medium
Oil paint on wood
Dimensions
Support: 197 x 162 mm
frame: 310 x 267 x 33 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1921
Reference
N03603

Not on display

Display caption

Wilkie was renowned for depicting figures full of character, and for capturing recognisable social types. He used a familiar language of facial appearance and expression to render complex group scenes intelligible. Collectors were attracted to the variety and vitality of his pictures.

This is a study for a work shown at the Royal Academy in 1816, The Rabbit on the Wall - a candle-light amusement, in which a father entertains his children by making shadow creatures. One contemporary critic commented on the artist’s skill at the ‘strong and accurate painting of character’.

Gallery label, March 2011

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