The Great Court of the British Museum, £9.99
Height: 328.000 mm
Width: 256.000 mm
Bequeathed by Richard Payne Knight, 1824
Prints and Drawings
Richard Westall, Portrait of a Woman seated in a Landscape with a spaniel, watercolour and bodycolour over graphite
Richard Westall (1765–1836) lived with the family of his close friend Thomas Lawrence from 1790 to 1794. During this period both artists produced a series of watercolours and pastels of young men, women and children out of doors.
The landscape is used to re-enforce and reflect the character and sentiment of the figures. Flowers scattered on grassy banks echo the colours in their clothes and trees with flowing branches echo the folds of their dresses, sashes, feathers and curls.
As groups of figures, the paintings are scenes of friendship, love and family. However, this solitary figure of an unknown woman instead evokes absent love and melancholy. This is emphasised by the red flames of love-lies-bleeding among the pure and innocent lilies.
Westall had entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1785. His exhibits at the RA received positive reviews and in 1794 he was made a full academician.
L. Binyon, Catalogue of Drawings by British Artists and Artists of Foreign Origin Working in Great Britain in the Collection of the British Museum, (London, 1898–1907)
N. Penny and M. Clarke (eds), The Arrogant Connoisseur: Richard Payne Knight 1751–1824, (Manchester, 1982)
R. J. Westall, 'Richard Westall', Oxford DNB, (article 29106)