View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
This figure study shows the vigorous lines that could be made by rapidly sketching with a quill pen and ink. Quills were extremely responsive to pressure and also allowed for very smooth application of the ink. The pale tone of the ink suggests that it has been heavily diluted. Wilkie seems to have smudged the ink in the woman's hair and plumed head-dress while it was still wet in order to soften the image. The dark broach or locket at her throat was created by loading the pen with ink and allowing it to puddle on the paper.
Gallery label, August 2004