attributed to Joseph Wright of Derby

Study of an Unknown Man

c.1751–7

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Chalk on paper
Dimensions
Support: 456 x 280 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996
Reference
T08244

Display caption

Previously thought to be a seventeenth-century portrait sketch, this drawing is now attributed to Joseph Wright of Derby. Recent analysis of the paper has shown that it dates from the period c.1747-57, making the earlier identification impossible. It is now believed to be a studio drawing executed by Wright while a student in the London studio of the portrait painter Thomas Hudson. It is probably a copy made after either a print or a painting by the seventeenth-century artist Sir Peter Lely. Copying the work of past masters was a recognised student exercise, and Hudson had a large collection of paintings, drawings and prints for Wright to make use of.

Gallery label, September 2004

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