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  • JOHN VANDERBANK (1694-1739)


    Pen & ink with wash 

    17.5 x 13 cm



    With P. & D. Colnaghi, London;

    John Daniel Tilford, GA, U.S.A. (L.4498)




    The present work is absolutely typical of Vanderbank’s portrait studies, some of which appear to have been drawn purely as exercises and others as preparatory pieces for painting commissions. Given the level of detail in the present sheet - with the book held by the sitter in her lap and the elaborate chair-back - it is likely that our drawing fell into the latter category, though a related portrait remains, as of yet, unidentified. Although Vanderbank and at least one of his pupils (John Robinson) was known to make studies from Anthony Van Dyck and Rubens' portraits and drawings, the hairstyle and design of dress of the present sitter further suggest that it was for a sitter and not just as a studio example. 


    Vanderbank was a gifted draughtsman, and his skill was recognised by one of the leading connoisseurs and critics of the day, the artist George Vertue, who wrote that he was 'in drawing, and Painting, of all men born in this nation superior in skill.' He ran an academy dedicated strictly to the art of draughtsmanship (and specifically drawing from life, in the academic tradition), established in partnership with the French artist Louis Chéron in 1720, and in the school's brief period of activity its subscribers included several figures who would become leading artists in their own rights years later. Among these were William Hogarth, Joseph Highmore, William Kent and James Seymour, all of whom would continue to practice drawing throughouttheir careers. 




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