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Richard Westall R.A. (1756-1836) - Biblical scene
  • Richard Westall R.A. (1756-1836) - Biblical scene

    Richard Westall was 'a historical and figure painter and a very prolific book illustrator who, in 1779, was apprenticed to a silver engraver. He first exhibited at the R.A. in 1784 and entered the R.A. Schools in the following year. On completion of his apprenticeship in 1786 he became a profssional artist, and was elected A.R.A. and R.A. in 1792 and 1794. Late in life he became drawing master to Princess Victoria.' [1] Westall is best known for his historical and biblical paintings.


    This study by Westall appears to portray a biblical scene. A man seems to be on his deathbed with his hands together in prayer. The character on the left is pointing to what appears to be a scroll, which could be scripture. The last character is showing the person on the bed to the other gentleman. This work may be a study for a larger picture by Westall.


    There are various biblical studies by Westall in the Yale Center for British Art. They are all about the same size as our drawing, furthermore they are also completed in pencil and are signed 'RW'. Examples include 'Christ Raising the Widow's Son' (Accession Number: B1986.12.6) and 'Elisha on His Death-Bed' (Accession Number: B1986.12.5) which are both similar in composition to our drawing. It appears that our work is part of the same set of biblical drawings.


    Medium: pencil on paper, signed l.l 'R.W.', 9 x 14 cm, framed.




    [1] Huon Mallalieu, 'The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920, Volume II M-Z', Antique Collectors' Club: Woodbridge, 2002. See pp. 256-257.


    Condition report: a couple of small foxing marks and some general time staining, please see photographs.

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