attributed to George Richmond

Fettered Nude Figure Reclining by a Rock


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Attributed to George Richmond 1809–1896
Ink and watercolour on paper
Support: 235 × 343 mm
Presented by Mrs John Richmond 1922

Display caption

Although Richmond at one time described this drawing as by Blake, stylistically it is unlike his work. Richmond's attribution, probably made when he was an old man, therefore seems to be wrong. It is probably by Richmond himself. Blake's influence is most apparent in the choice of subject. The chained figure of a man recalls the figure of Orc in Blake's drawing 'Los and Orc' which once belonged to Richmond's friend John Linnell. It is now in the Tate collection. This drawing must date from about the time of Richmond's first meeting with Blake, at Linnell's house, in 1825. Richmond later said that conversing with Blake was like 'talking to the Prophet Isaiah'.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

A00838 A Fettered Nude Figure Reclining by a Rock c.1825

A 00838
Pen and wash 235×343 (9 1/4×13 1/2) Inscribed by George Richmond, ‘Drawn by W. Blake, GR’ b.r.
Presented by Mrs George Richmond 1922
PROVENANCE George Richmond, sold Christie's 29 April 1897 (in 147, with 22 other items, see A00045) £2.10.0 bt Dr. Richard Sisley; his daughter Mrs John Richmond.

Despite the inscription in George Richmond's own hand this drawing is stylistically unlike anything known to be by Blake. The similarity of the figure in this drawing to that in Richmond's tempera painting of 1825, ‘Abel the Shepherd’ in the Tate Gallery (N05858) suggests some confusion in Richmond's mind arising from the fact that, according to Mrs Gilchrist, Blake ‘made a careful correction-drawing of the shepherd's arm in his pupil's [Richmond's] sketchbook’ (H.H. Gilchrist, Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings, 1887, p.261; Bentley Blake Records 1969, pp.293 n.1). A number of Richmond's early drawings bear inscriptions and dates that seem to have been added by him very much later; in some cases alternative dates are given, demonstrating that he was working from memory, and this would seem to have been so, mistakenly, in this case.

This work was formerly inventoried as no.3694 iii.

Published in:
Martin Butlin, William Blake 1757-1827, Tate Gallery Collections, V, London 1990


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