Edwin Austin Abbey

Illustration to ‘Judith Shakespeare’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Edwin Austin Abbey 1852–1911
Ink on paper
Support: 305 × 419 mm
Presented by a group of admirers through John Singer Sargent 1924

Catalogue entry

Inscr. ‘E. A. Abbey, Dec 22 1883.’ b.r.
Pen and ink, 12×16 1/2 (30×42).
Presented by a group of admirers through John Singer Sargent 1924.
Coll: Mrs E. A. Abbey.
Lit: Lucas, 1921, 1, pp.123, 131, 134, 143.
Repr: William Black, Judith Shakespeare, a novel serialized in Harper's Magazine, LXVIII, 1884, p.948.

William Black, the author, first approached the artist in August 1882 about contributing illustrations to his book Judith Shakespeare, a novel about William Shakespeare's daughter. In December 1883 Abbey was having difficulty in finishing his illustrations, but throughout the next year Harper's Magazine regularly published the whole of his ‘Judith’ drawings until their reappearance in book form. This drawing illustrates the meeting of Judith Shakespeare with Master Leofric Hope, described in Chapter 13 of the story, and was captioned ‘Then he bowed low again and withdrew’.

A letter drafted by the artist in 1894 to Charles Dudley Warner about the theory of illustrating relates that ‘one of my most interesting experiences was making the Judith Shakespeare drawings, some of which were arranged before the story was written out and the whole ground and scheme of action of the story gone over and studied with him [William Black] on the spot. This, I think, is exceptional - probably owing to the fact that Black had artistic leanings before he took up the pen....’ (Lucas, op. cit., 1, p.123.)

Published in:
Mary Chamot, Dennis Farr and Martin Butlin, The Modern British Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, London 1964, I

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