- Sir David Wilkie 1785–1841
- Oil paint on mahogany
- Support: 302 x 457 mm
- Bequeathed by Miss Harriet Bredel 1875
Wilkie studied in Edinburgh and came to London in 1805. A very gifted artist, he soon found fame as a painter of low-life subjects. These small works, the action in which was shown at a carefully chosen moment, with gesture and expression telling the whole story, brought an exciting new note into British art. They had the truth and humour of Hogarth and showed an acute sense of the lessons to be learnt from the Old Masters, particularly the Dutch Old Masters; importantly, their spirit was 'national'. In fact, Wilkie's style matched the aspirations of most of the patrons and many of the artists of the day.
This is a study for a larger picture painted for the Prince Regent in 1812.
Gallery label, August 2004
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