- Museum number
Study for a portrait of Mr Aiken, the actor. 1777
Black chalk, touched with red and heightened with white, on grey prepared paper
- Production date
Height: 128 millimetres
Width: 96 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This drawing is in Volume 4 of the Third Series of Downman's 'First Sketches of Portraits of distinguished persons'. For further details see 1936,1116.27.1.
Downman notes that this is one of a group of studies "made for my Design in Mason's Play of Caracticus [sic] - but which I had not time to make a Picture off [sic] as I intended. It was acted at Covent Garden with great Applause." The studies of the other actors surround in this volume (1967,1014.181.164-170).
The play is William Mason's 'Caractacus' written in 1759 which was the first to use a greek chorus in performing a dramatic poem.
Aiken also featured in an oil painting by Downman, The Return of Orestes which showed a performance of Voltaire's Oreste at Drury Lane on 15th October 1774. In 1965 the painting was in the possession of a Mr Dutton of Hampshire. [Country Life (Nov 25th, 1965)].
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- See Jane Munro, 'John Downman 1750-1824', exhibition catalogue, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, p.77.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number