Collection online

drawing / album

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Drawing from an album, portrait of Angelica Kauffman; three-quarter length seated to left, her right hand placed to her chest, holding an artist's palette in her left hand, wearing a cap with frill. c.1767 Graphite

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1767 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 150 millimetres
    • Width: 108 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Removed from an album of Dance's drawings kept at 198.c.17

    The following text is from S. Lloyd and K. Sloan, 'The Intimate Portrait' (exh. SNPG & BM, 2008-9), cat. no. 80:

    Artist's studios were fashionable meeting places in London and few would have been more popular than that of Angelica Kauffman, a Swiss artist who was one of the two female founding members of the Royal Academy. This drawing by Nathaniel Dance of Angelica with her palette and brushes was a first sketch for a larger compositional drawing showing her seated in exactly this pose, talking to Sir Joshua Reynolds to the left, a painting on an easel beside him and a woman playing a guitar or lute behind her (private collection; reproduced in Rosenthal 2006, fig. 50).

    The portrait and history painter Nathaniel Dance had met and painted Kauffman in 1764 in Rome when he was in love with her. He had been studying portraiture and history painting in Rome for ten years and returned to London shortly before her first arrival there in June 1766. He believed they had an understanding but her immediate success in London, where she was promoted by Reynolds, led to her meeting and marrying in November 1767 a man named Brandt posing as a Swedish nobleman, who called himself ‘Count Frederick de Horn’. He was swiftly found to be an impostor and bigamist but it is significant that in this drawing, and the larger one after it, Dance makes her wedding ring very clear, even prominent by her hand to heart gesture.

    The larger composition has been described as representing Dance's disappointment - Reynolds, who sat to her that year and whose portrait by her may be on the easel, leans forward and cups his hand to his ear, exaggerating his deafness, and Dance emphasizes the prominence of Angelica's nose. The woman playing in the background turns her back on both of them. The approach to the sitter, Kauffman, is quite different from the reverential and admiring one in the National Gallery of Scotland, which is also attributed to Dance. Some commentators have suggested that it too derides her talents, as the drawing she displays to us is rudimentary and that of a 'dilettante' (Rosenthal 2006, pp. 229-30), in other words the failure of a woman artist to capture the male form; however the loving detail lavished on the image seems to argue against anything except admiration.

    SELECTED LITERATURE: LB 17(c); D. Goodreau, ‘Nathaniel Dance’, London, 1977, no.14d, 19; A. Rosenthal, ‘Angelica Kauffman’, 2006, pp. 117-19

    According to 'Nathaniel Dance 1735-1811',, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 1977, no.14d, a related drawing by Dance of Angelica Kauffman and Sir Joshua Reynolds was in the collection of the Earl of Harewood.


  • Bibliography

    • Binyon 1898-1907 11 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British Roy PIIIb)

  • Exhibition history

    1977 Jun-Sep, Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, 'Nathaniel Dance', no. 14d
    2008/9 Oct-Jan, Edinburgh, SNPG, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 80
    2009 Mar-May, London, BM, Room 90, 'The Intimate Portrait', no. 80

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Drawing from an album, portrait of Angelica Kauffman; TQL seated to l, her r hand placed to her chest, holding an artist's palette in her l hand, wearing a cap with frill. c.1767 Graphite


Drawing from an album, portrait of Angelica Kauffman; TQL seated to l, her r hand placed to her chest, holding an artist's palette in her l hand, wearing a cap with frill. c.1767 Graphite

Image description



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