Collection online

drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1900,0717.57

  • Description

    Portrait of the Countess Rozalie Rzuwuska; three-quarter length seated, head in profile to left, body turned to front, hands clasped together in lap Black and red chalk

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1818-1819
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 411 millimetres
    • Width: 265 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    The following text is from S Lloyd and K Sloan, 'The Intimate Portrait', BM, NGS, 2008, no. 176.

    According to Laurence Binyon, Alexandra, the daughter of Prince Alexander Lubomirski was born in 1788 and arrested in Paris with her mother, Alexandrine Rose Chodkiewicz-Rzewuska in 1794. Her mother was guillotined and Alexandra was found by her father in the care of a woodcutter, taken to Berlin and renamed Rosalie in honour of her mother. In 1805, she married Graf Wenzel [Count Wenceslaus] Rzewuski, a famous Orientalist who had been sent to Arabia to obtain horses for Alexander I of Russia. He returned to spend the rest of his days in Arab dress tending horses on the Steppes of Poland (d.1831). The Countess was renowned for her beauty and was in Vienna when Lawrence spent a year there in 1819 and drew her. There may have been another version for the Countess but this drawing was retained by the artist. The Countess died in Poland in 1865; her Memoirs were edited by G.C. Grenier in three volumes and published in Rome (in French, 1939).

    In September 1818, Lawrence set out for the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle to continue his series of portraits of the allied sovereigns for the Prince Regent. While in Vienna from November until the following May, he painted various members of the aristocracy there. Commissions for portraits included a son of Count Lubomirski, a relative of the Countess. The present drawing of 'Countess Rosalie' was one of about a dozen drawings he made of members of Viennese high society, a list of which he sent to Farington in 1819 (Williams 1831). They were not sketches for paintings, but finished works of art in their own right, just as his earlier drawings for the Royal Academy had been [5.11]. By this date of course, comparison with Ingres might be readily made, but they are uniquely Lawrence's own style, relying on delicate touches of red chalk and stump to add life. He focuses with great refinement on particular areas, such as her glossy curls and comb that frame her distinctive profile, but only hinting with a few fluid and graceful lines at the details of her dress and shawl.

    Miss Elizabeth Croft, an old friend of the artist and executor of the estate of Mrs. Wolff, was visiting the artist when he died early in 1830. She lent this drawing to the British Institution exhibition of his work in 1830 (no. 64) when she was assisting Lawrence's executor Archibald Keightley after the artist's death. He was deeply in debt when he died and his collections and the contents of his studio, which included this drawing, had to be sold. K Sloan

    SELECTED LITERATURE: L Binyon, 'British Drawings in the BM', Lawrence, no.15; W. Armstrong, 'Lawrence', 1913, p.187; D.E. Williams, 'Life and Correspondence of Sir Thomas Lawrence', 1831, II, p.146; K. Garlick, 'A Cat. of the Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Thomas Lawrence', Walpole Society, XXXIX, 1964, p.242; K. Garlick, 'Sir Thomas Lawrence: Complete Catalogue of the Oil Paintings', 1989; M. Levey, 'Sir Thomas Lawrence', NPG, London 1979, no. 81; M. Levey, 'Sir Thomas Lawrence', 2005, pp.220-22, pl.120

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1898-1907 15 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Roy PIV)

  • Exhibition history

    1969, BM, 'Royal Academy Draughtsmen 1769-1969', no.49 1972, Oct, BM, The Art of Drawing, no.345 1974 July-Dec, BM, Portrait Drawings, no.313 1979/80 Nov-Mar, London, National Portrait Gallery, 'Lawrence', no. 81 1982 Feb-April, Vienna, Albertina 1982 May-Sep, Belgium, The Chateau of Beloeil
    2008/9 Oct-Jan, Edinburgh, SNPG, 'Intimate Face: Portrait Drawing'
    2009 Mar-May, London, BM, Room 90, 'Intimate Face: Portrait Drawing'
    2010/11 Oct-Jan, London, NPG, The Portraiture of Thomas Lawrence
    2011 Feb-June, New Haven, YCBA, The Portraiture of Thomas Lawrence

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1900

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1900,0717.57

Portrait of the Countess Rozalie Rzewuska; three-quarter length seated, head in profile to l, body turned to front, hands clasped together in lap Black and red chalk

Portrait of the Countess Rozalie Rzewuska; three-quarter length seated, head in profile to l, body turned to front, hands clasped together in lap Black and red chalk

Image description

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