- Museum number
Interior with a man and woman embracing on a sofa; head and shoulders of woman in profile leaning towards the man, head visible only, both on a settee in left foreground, on right table, window in background. 1863
- Production date
- 1863 (19th July)
Height: 125 millimetres
Width: 173 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Gere 1994
The unusually large and conspicuously inscribed date may have some significance: it is tempting to wonder whether the drawing commemorates some crisis in the relationship of Scott and his pupil, devoted friend and constant companion, Alice Boyd of Penkill Castle in Ayrshire. The woman on the sofa could well be her, to judge from a portrait drawing by Scott dated July 1861, formerly at Penkill (house sale, Christie's, 15 December 1992, lot 145, repr.)
They met in Newcastle in March 1859, when he was forty-eight, a talented artist and poet and unhappily married, and she thirty-four, attractive but unmarried and looking for someone to help her develop her skill as an artist. Not surprisingly, they fell in love. After Scott and his wife moved to London in 1864, a successful ménage à trois was established. The Scotts spent the summers at Penkill, and Miss Boyd lived with them in London in the winter. Mrs Scott accepted the fact of her husband's liaison. The two women remained, at least outwardly, on good terms, and no-one questioned the propriety of the arrangement. Scott and Alice Boyd remained a devoted couple until his death in 1890. She died in 1897.
A lovely evocative landscape with a view of the towers of Penkill Church and Castle in the distance, two flocks of birds flying from it, s&d W.B.S. 17/3/63 was in the Scott Sale, Sotheby's 19 Nov. 2008 (lot 71).
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1976 BM, Recent Acquisitions, (no cat.)
1994-5 Sept-Jan, BM, Pre-Raphaelite Drawings, no.106
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45. The British Museum welcomes information and assistance in the investigation and clarification of the provenance of all works during that era.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number