- Museum number
Collection of 56 drawings put together in album form in the BM, with figure studies, mostly female; including studies for 'Serena', 'Alope', 'Serena in the Boat', 'Newton & the Prism', 'Milton dictating to his daughters', the Gower Children, sketches of a family group, figures with dogs, the portrait of R Cumberland, and Jane Duchess of Gordon with her son
Most sketches in graphite, a few in pen and brown ink (some with wash and/or over graphite)
Seated female figure reading, whole length in side profile; graphite.
(H: 150.00mm x W: 90.00mm)
Lady seated reading, whole length in side profile, oval frame; graphite.
(H: 89.00mm x W: 92.00mm)
Half-length of a lady seated reading, head resting in right hand; graphite.
(H: 94.00mm x W: 81.00mm)
Seated woman with standing child (?), both in side profile; brown ink.
(H: 85.00mm x W: 118.00mm)
Same subject; brown ink.
(H: 99.00mm x 125.00mm)
Slight study for Serena in the Boat, seated nude female figure in side profile, figure standing pulling boat on left; graphite.
Verso: Same subject(?) (Needs lifting)
(H: 105.00mm x W: 185.00mm)
Study for same subject, arms crossed over chest; graphite.
(H: 110.00mm x 165.00mm)
Study for the same, standing figure pulling boat on right; graphite.
(H: 104.00mm x W: 189.00mm)
Two figures on left at desk, figure on right seated, possible study for Milton and his Daughters; graphite
Verso: Slight sketch for same subject (?); graphite.
(H: 120.00mm x W: 90.00mm)
Sketch for figure of Milton in ‘Milton dictating to his daughters’, figure seated in chair, facing front with leg and arm raised on left of chair; graphite.
(H: 84.00mm x W: 78.00mm)
Sketch for composition of the same, two female figures seated at table on left, male figure on right with raised arm; graphite.
(H: 96.00mm x 146.00mm)
Milton and one daughter, sketch for composition of the same, figure on right seated with leg and arm over chair, female figure on left seated at table looking left; brown ink and sepia wash.
(H: 87.00mm x W: 123.00mm)
Milton seated, twice repeated, on left leaning left and with arm outstretched over chair, on right leg over right side of chair, one daughter seated in centre, sketch for composition of the same; brown ink.
(H: 85.00 x W: 157.00mm)
Sketch for the composition of the same, two female figures seated on left, male figure on right in chair with right leg over chair and leaning against elbow; brown ink and sepia wash.
(H: 90.00mm x 136.00mm)
Sketch of three seated female figures; graphite.
Verso: Two figures; graphite. (Needs lifting)
(H: 116.00mm x W: 120.00mm)
Two standing female figures, whole length, in side profile and facing front; graphite.
(H: 78.00mm x 59.00mm)
Three female figures, two kneeling, one standing, all in side profile; graphite.
(H: 81.00mm x 89.00mm).
Reclining female figure; graphite.
Verso: Studies of two standing female figures; graphite.
(H: 83.00mm x 73.00mm).
One seated and one recumbent female figure; graphite.
(H: 83.00mm x W: 75.00mm).
Sketch of family group, surrounding a bed(?); graphite.
(H: 88.00mm x W: 129.00mm).
Figure supporting another, head of figure on right resting on lap of figure on left; graphite.
(H: 94.00mm x W: 85.00mm).
Seated female figure, whole length, body in side profile, head forward facing; graphite.
(H: 100.00mm x W: 116.00mm).
Standing female figure; whole length, looking over left shoulder; graphite.
(H: 114.00mm x W: 62.00mm)
Dancing figure, whole length; graphite.
Verso: Seated female figure. (Needs lifting)
(H: 105.00mm x W: 67.00mm)
Seated female figure, whole length in side profile; graphite.
(H: 117.00mm x 74.00mm)
Six sketches for portrait of a lady made from various angles, seated, portrait in top left with dog; graphite.
(H: 122.00mm x W: 156.00mm)
Seated woman and child on lap; brown ink.
(H: 83.00mm x W: 59.00mm)
Britannia(?), figure seated with shield and spear, side profile; graphite.
(H: 114.00mm x W: 92.00mm)
Kneeling female figure, head resting in hand; graphite.
Verso: Seated female figure; graphite. (Needs lifting)
(H: 92.00mm x W: 61.00mm).
Study for family group, figures seated and standing, probably study of Leigh family; graphite.
(H: 117.00 x W: 149.00mm)
Larger study for composition of same group; graphite.
Verso: Study for principal figures; brown ink.
(H: 144.00mm x 161.00mm)
Man carrying child, whole length facing front; graphite.
(H: 126.00mm x 90.00mm)
Woman standing, holding tambourine, possible study for the Gower Children; graphite.
(H: 133.00mm x W: 103.00mm)
Same subject; graphite.
Verso: Slight studies for the same subject; graphite. (Needs lifting)
(H: 147.00mm x W: 108.00mm)
Study for the Gower children, standing female figure on right with tambourine, small figures behind; graphite.
Verso: Figure; graphite. (Needs lifting)
(H: 120.00mm x 85.00mm)
Study for the three younger children in the Gower Children, dancing in circle holding hands; graphite.
(H: 89.00mm x 96.00mm)
Study for the composition of the Gower Children, three small figures dancing in circle and holding hands on left; graphite.
Verso: Recumbent female figure; sepia and graphite. (Needs lifting)
(H: 84.00mm x 129.00)
Study for three younger children, same subject, dancing in circle holding hands; graphite.
(H: 75.00mm x 115.00mm)
Same subject, very slight sketch, three figures dancing in circle holding hands; graphite.
(H: 58.00 x 73.00)
Same subject with female figure on right dancing; graphite and brown wash.
(H: 96.00mm x W: 82.00mm)
Slight sketch of same subject in reverse; graphite.
(H: 94.00mm x 123.00mm)
Sketch of a seated lady for portrait, half length, head resting on left hand; graphite.
(H: 106.00 mm x W: 92.00 mm)
Seated figure of a man, whole length in side profile, right arm stretched out, study for portrait of Richard Cumberland; graphite.
(H: 107.00mm x W: 84.00mm)
Girl standing with dog, whole length, body in side profile, head facing front; graphite and brown ink.
Verso: Full length of man with dog.
(H: 144.00mm x W: 115.00mm)
Female figure, standing whole length in side profile; graphite.
Verso: Dancing female figure; graphite. (Needs lifting)
(H: 224.00mm x W: 147.00mm)
Same subject as back of preceding; graphite.
Verso: Four studies of a seated lady; graphite.
(H: 225.00mm x W: 135.00mm)
Seated female figure with child on right, sketch for Jane, Duchess of Gordon and her son; graphite.
(H: 98.00mm x 71.00mm)
Same subject, son standing on right, female figure seated; graphite.
(H: 113.00 x W: 98.00mm)
Same subject, son leaning forward; graphite.
(H: 105.00mm x W: 101.00mm)
Female figure, whole length facing front, right arm resting against plinth (?); brown ink.
(H: 147.00mm x W: 87.00mm)
Two figures, male and female, half length, male figure facing front, female in side profile with left hand resting on male shoulder; brown ink.
Verso: Unknown sketch (Needs lifting).
(H: 101.00mm x W: 90.00mm)
Seated female figure, whole length, facing front, possible study of Emma Hamilton; brown ink.
Verso: Two standing female figures in side profile, whole length; graphite.
(H: 158.00mm x W: 93.00mm)
Seated female figure in hat, reading, whole length in side profile, possible study of Emma Hamilton; graphite.
Verso: List of clothing etc , in George Romney’s hand.
(H: 155.00mm x 94.00mm)
Large study of seated female, in side profile with hand held up to face; graphite.
Verso: Two standing female figures; graphite (Needs lifting)
(H: 230.00mm x 172.00mm)
Seated female figure, reading, half-length in side profile; graphite.
(H: 181.00mm x 115.00mm)
Large study of reclining female figure, wearing cap, sleeping (?); graphite.
(H: 179.00mm x W: 238.00mm)
Two studies of man’s face, side profile, one study with cap, in original mount (?); brown ink.
(H: 263.00mm x W: 210.00mm)
- Production date
Height: 492 millimetres
Width: 386 millimetres (covers)
- Curator's comments
- See the object description or register for information on individual drawings. Several sheets have sketches on the verso as well as the recto, although in some cases are pasted down onto the album leaves. Another drawing (1952-1014-2) has been mounted in the album, and is described separately.
This album, put together following the British Museum’s acquisition of these drawings in 1914, contains a number of preliminary sketches for some of Romney’s well known portraits of the Leigh Family, the Gower Family, Richard Cumberland and the Duchess of Gordon. The dates of these painted portraits range from the late 1760s until the late 1770s; we can therefore date the works in this album to around this time.
1914,0117.44-45 are recorded in the British Museum register as ‘Study for family group’. It is most probably a study of the Leigh Family, whose portrait Romney completed in 1768 for the exhibition of the Free Society of Artists. The painting, now in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, bears striking similarities to sketches 1914,0117.44 and 1914,0117.45. Both drawings depict a similar composition of figures and although the sketches of the children are rough, it is possible to make out the two daughters standing in the centre are similar to those in the painted version. 1914,0117.45 is a more detailed sketch and shows Romney experimenting with the setting of an exterior/interior scene, common amongst many grand portraits at the time to demonstrate a patron's wealth and nobility. Another noticable similarity are the two seated figures on the left, the younger leaning over a stool next to an older female sibling as seen in the painting. For further information regarding this painting see A.Kidson, ‘George Romney: 1734-1802’, (London,2002), pp.66-67, cat no.19.
Kidson describes the painting of the Leigh family as one Romney’s ‘supreme achievements’ (p.66) and references two sketchbooks containing prepartory studies, one in the National Gallery of Victoria and the other untraced. In Kidson’s footnotes for this catalogue entry, he states that the issue of the untraced sketchbook remains open. However, based on such close similarities, it is likely that this album is that which is described as ‘untraced’.
1914,0117.47-551 are described in the register as studies for Romney’s portrait of the Leveson-Gower children (1776-1777), now in the Abbot Hall Art Gallery collection. See Kidson, pp. 115-117, cat no.58 for a comparison. See also cat no.55 – 57, of Kidson’s catalogue, for three similar sketches, which serve as further evidence for this association. The children are the five youngest children of Granville, 2nd Earl of Gower. Lady Anne (1761-1832), is the figure on the right holding a tambourine and was the youngest of the four children by Granville’s 2nd wife, Lady Louisa Egerton. The children dancing in the ring are by Granville’s third wife, Lady Susanna Stewart. Kidson suggests that preparation for this commission began in November 1776, and sittings were completed around June 1777.
These drawings possibly date later than those included in Kidson’s cat no. 55 and 56 as they include a fourth child, Granville. When this painting was initially commissioned, Granville was only three years old and therefore considered too young to sit. The numerous sketches that exist for this painting support Kidson’s suggestion that Romney’s studies were less about arriving at the basic idea than about rehearsing certain key features so that the painting process did not become too bogged down (p.115).
1914,0117.57 on page 12 of this album is registered as a sketch of Richard Cumberland, whose portrait is now in the National Portrait Gallery, London. There is only one sketch in this album of Cumberland, but knowing Romney’s practice of repeatedly sketching his sitters, there are likely to be a number of others elsewhere. Kidson references studies of Cumberland in two sketchbooks in the Royal Academy collection. Similarly to the painted portrait, Richard Cumberland sits in a chair in side profile with his right arm stretched outwards. In both the sketch and painting, Cumberland’s left hand is resting against the side of his face, but in this sketch his head is angled slightly lower. Kidson dates the Royal Academy sketches to be around 1770-1771 and states that a portrait of Cumberland was exhibited at the Society of Arts in 1771. For further information regarding this painting, see A. Kidson, ‘George Romney: 1734-1802’, (London, 2002), pp.91-92, cat no.37.
The fourth connection between sketch and painting that can be made from this album is with drawings 1914,0117.61-63, of Jane, Duchess of Gordon with her son. The painting, now in the National Galleries Scotland bears very close resemblance to these sketches, particularly 1914,0117.62 and 1914,0117.63. 1914,0117.61depicts the Duchess of Gordon's son leaning across his mother’s lap as opposed to standing over her as in 1914,0117.62 and 1914,0117.63 and in the final work.
This album contains several preparatory sketches for Romney’s painting, ‘Milton and his Daughters’, see 1914,0117.23-28. Other sketches of Milton and his Daughters can be found in another sketchbook in the British Museum collection, see f.1 and f.2 of 1921,0714.1. None of the sketches in this album depict Milton seated in the position that he is in the painting. In the sketches he is drawn in a more confident, confrontational pose with his leg raised over the chair he is seated in (see 1914,0117.24,26,27 & 28). See pp.222-223 f.66 and f.67 of A. Kidson's catalogue for similar sketches, which date from 1792. The studies of Milton and his daughters from this album are likely to have been produced around the same time. See pp.222-223 for more information regarding the painting of Milton and his Daughters. See also 1853,1210.617 for an engraving of this work.
Other subjects in this album include Serena in the Boat of Apathy, for which there are three studies. Other sketches of Serena by George Romney are in the Tate Collection, unlike the graphite sketches in this album, those in the Tate are more detailed and in brown ink and graphite. The dates for these works remain unknown.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The sketches were taken from sketchbooks once in the possession of Miss Romney.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number