The fine pale lines in this drawing were probably produced from a relatively hard pencil. The work is dated 1819, and we know that Lewis was travelling in France at this time, as a draughtsman to Dr. TF Dibdin. It is possible therefore, that he had obtained a hard pencil manufactured by Nicholas Jacques Conté, which contained more clay than graphite. Such pencils were suitable for drawing precise architectural details because they gave a thin hard line and did not wear down as quickly as softer pencils.
Gallery label, August 2004
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