[Plate XXV from Sketches of Spain and Spanish Character (London, 1836)]

[With a sketch by Charles Samuel Keene attached to verso, with Keene’s studio stamp]

Pen & ink on cream paper

10.5 x 17 cm



Mr Page, Tunbridge Wells, U.K.;

By whose estate sold, John Nicholsons, Haslemere, 29.09.2021, Lot 63 [as A collection of four 19th Century ink sketches] (Part of Lot)



We are grateful to Briony Llewellyn for confirming the authenticity of this work, which will be included in the forthcoming catalogue of drawings by Lewis. 



The present work is a study for one of Lewis' Spanish watercolours, later published in a volume of prints by F.G. Moon in London to critical acclaim (see Fig. II below). The subject, a Spanish inn, was likely inspired in part by Lewis' friend and mentor Sir David Wilkie's depiction of a similar scene (The Spanish Posada: A Guerilla Council of War), painted only a few years earlier, in 1828, now in the Royal Collections Trust at Windsor (RCIN 405094).


Lewis exhibited his finished watercolour in 1834 at the Old Watercolour Society (catalogue no.43) and it is now in a Private Collection - a reproduction can be seen here:


A year after the 1834 exhibition Adelphi theatre put on a series of tableau vivants of Lewis' paintings which included this subject. Lewis also painted a further version of this subject as a large exhibition watercolour, set in the exterior of an inn, titled Posada de la trinidad or a Spanish posada - supposed to be after a bullfight (1835).


The artist made several additions to the final version of the subject, the most apparent being the inscription to the beams of the staircase - in the final version, it reads Posada de la Reyna. A further study for the print can be found in the Royal Academy collections, inv. no. 03/5966 (A Scene in a Spanish Posada).


The present work can be compared in particular to a group now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, donated by the artist's widow (Acc. no's. D.1164-D.1198-1908). The Curators' notes for the group state, "Very few of Lewis' rough sketches survive, but this group...often contain his first thoughts. They are either composition sketches, or details sketched for inclusion in the finished watercolour and oil paintings."

JOHN FREDERICK LEWIS, R.A. (1804 – 1876)