STUDY OF A RECLINING NUDE WITH FURTHER FIGURE STUDIES, POSSIBLY A
STUDY FOR HEROD’S FEAST (1851)
Pencil and black & green chalk heightened with white on buff paper
28 x 37cm
With Christopher Wood Gallery, New Bond St., London;
Private Collection, London
Thomas Matthews Rooke first studied art at evening classes in London, before becoming a pupil at the School of Design in South Kensington and then the Royal Academy Schools. In 1869, he applied to work at Morris & Company, and was seconded to work as a Studio Assistant to Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones. Rooke came to regard the older artist 'a Demi God or kind of Divine Creature,' with Rooke in turn affectionately called 'little Rooke' by his teacher.
Rooke became ma close friend of Burne-Jones’ and wrote down many of their conversations during his last few years in the studio with him, creating a lasting record of his master's thoughts and character, and showing the extent of Rooke's involvement in the creation of many of Burne- Jones's works. After Burne-Jones' death, Rooke gave these records to the artist's widow Georgiana, who used them as reference material in her memorial to her husband.
Although he is best remembered for his architectural watercolours, Rooke began his artistic career as a typical Pre-Raphaelite: he painted a number of figure subjects in oils, often mythological or classical in subject, mainly during the early part of his career when he was Burne-Jones's studio assistant.
The present work may include a study for one of the reclining figures in Rooke’s Herod’s Feast, sold at Christie’s in 2010.