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Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841)

A study of a seated girl c. 1813-18

Black and red chalk on buff-coloured paper | 18.8 x 10.6 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 917563

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  • A black and red chalk drawing of a seated girl turned to the right, probably a study for the girl on the extreme left of Wilkie's oil painting Penny Wedding. A large rectangular portion on the right of the drawing has been cut out and made up. Previously mounted on a sheet of buff-coloured paper which is inscribed "N. 2", "Study", "D Wilkie", "Study for the Penny Wedding" and "D Wilkie Esq / RA" (all in pencil, two different hands).

    The Penny Wedding (RCIN 405536) was painted by Wilkie at the request of George IV who, at a Royal Academy dinner of 1813, expressed his wish for a companion picture to Wilkie's own Blind-Man’s Buff (signed and dated 1812; RCIN 405537). Wilkie was paid 500 guineas for the 'Penny Wedding' in 1819, the same year in which he exhibited it at the Royal Academy. The subject of the painting is a type of marriage ceremony, common in Scotland, where the guests each paid a penny towards the expenses and anything left over went towards the couple’s new home. There are many other extant studies for the Penny Wedding (see also RCIN 917877.a), including a small corpus of both rapid pen and ink whole composition and group sketches and more highly-finished black and red chalk studies of individual figures and features (such as this Royal Collection drawing) held by the British Museum. The Ashmolean holds a signed preparatory drawing for the two embracing figures to the immediate right of the seated girl in the final painting which corresponds with the Royal Collection sketch in scale and medium. 

    Purchased in 1947 by King George VI from the Christie's sale of the Lousada collection; previously in the collection of Thomas Baring, 1st Earl of Northbrook (1826-1904)

  • Medium and techniques

    Black and red chalk on buff-coloured paper


    18.8 x 10.6 cm (sheet of paper)