Sir David Wilkie

The First Ear-Ring

1834–5, exhibited 1835

Medium
Oil paint on mahogany
Dimensions
Support: 743 x 603 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Robert Vernon 1847
Reference
N00328

Display caption

Wilkie painted his first version of this subject in 1821. He returned to it over ten years later, in response to a commission from the 6th Duke of Bedford. This time he spent nearly two years working on a series of sketches to resolve the composition and gather details of the figures. However, when this picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1835, the critic of The Athenaeum described the finished painting as a 'hasty and happy' little picture.

Gallery label, September 2004