- Museum number
A scene from a fête champêtre showing three couples reclining beneath an outdoor monument in the shade of some trees, in foreground, a woman wearing a vivid red dress holds a basket of flowers, left, in the centre, a man holds a pipe to the lips of a woman wearing yellow, small dog stands on its hind legs at her feet. 1933-54
Watercolour and bodycolour over a graphite sketch on blue grey paper
Verso: Rough sketch for the above composition; only one additional figure to right.
Black and white chalk with brown wash and white bodycolour
- Production date
- 1933-1954 (around)
Height: 541 millimetres (frame)
Height: 325 millimetres (image, approx)
Width: 275 millimetres (approx)
Width: 468 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- The eldest daughter of the Revd William Archibald Spooner (1844-1930), Catharine Spooner trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing, Oxford and afterwards at the Royal Academy Schools and Slade School of Fine Art. In 1913 she married Campbell Dodgson, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. As an artist, she enjoyed considerable success with her portrait drawings in the 1930s and 1940s. She preferred to work in pen or black or red chalk, often on coloured paper, with transparent washes of pale brown.
This drawing of a fête champêtre is probably based on works from the pastoral repertoire of the French artist, François Boucher (1703-1770), possibly a tapestry design. Boucher produced numerous designs for tapestries between 1736 and 1755 including a suite of six pastoral subjects known collectively as 'The Noble Pastoral' or 'Les Beaux Pastorales' (first woven in 1755) (see Jean-Luc Bordeaux, 'The Epitome of the Pastoral Genre in Boucher's Oeuvre: "The Fountain of Love" and "The Bird Catcher" from "The Noble Pastoral"', J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, 3 (1976), 75-101). The monument in the Dodgson drawing is reminiscent of that in Boucher's painting 'An Autumn Pastoral' (1749), now in the Wallace Collection, London, which also has similar reclining figures beneath.
This drawing was acquired in a frame with a printed biography of Catharine Dodgson by James Byam Shaw (a previous owner) pasted to the back and an inscription with information about the provenance written by Byam Shaw also on the verso. The drawing will be removed from the frame and mounted in a BM mount, but photocopies of the back will be in the dossier.
The sketch on the verso was discovered when the drawing was removed from the frame for conservation.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The drawing was presented to James Byam Shaw by William and Rosemary Spooner (the artist's brother and sister) after her memorial exhibition at Colnaghi's, London in 1954; it was given to John and Margaret Christian after Christina Byam Shaw's death.
There is a stencil number and chalk number (MS636) on the back of the frame, possibly indicating a stock number or auction number [Perhaps Colnaghi's?].
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number