Henry William Bunbury

The Longways Dance

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Henry William Bunbury 1750–1811
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 238 × 370 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

Display caption

This drawing may have been made as a preliminary sketch for Bunbury's celebrated series of prints, A Long Minuet as Danced at Bath, published in 1787. The finished engravings were printed on a strip five feet long, showing a series of dancing couples in a variety of attitudes and expressions, both elegant and ungainly. Bunbury's inventive strip designs were copied and imitated by other caricaturists. Because of their long
format and narrative element they have been viewed as a forerunner of the modern comic strip.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Technique and condition

The image is painted in watercolour with graphite and pencil drawing on a medium-weight, white laid paper. The work is generally in good condition with surface dirt and general discolouration. The support has been inlaid very tightly onto a one-ply board, which has then been attached to a secondary mount.

On acquisition the drawing was removed from its secondary mount and inlay, cleaned to reduce surface dirt and pressed. It was inlaid and mounted onto white museum board.

Lisa Psarianos
February 1998


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