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Samuel Shelley (1750-1808) - 2 drawings including Christ preaching
  • Samuel Shelley (1750-1808) - 2 drawings including Christ preaching

    We are delighted to have for sale a collection of over 60 drawings by Samuel Shelley (1750-1808). It is rare to have such a large collection by the artist and many are sketches and studies for some of Shelley's important works. We are selling them individually and some in groups.


    The portfolio they come from is one of a few volumes of drawings by the artist, seven of which are held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and various other drawings are dispersed across the collections of the British Museum, the Royal Academy, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale Center for British Art, and the Wichita Museum. They all are numbered in the same fashion as our drawings which helps to show these are portfolio works by Shelley.


    Our set comes from a collection that has the original front and backboard for the portfolio (note, these do not come with this listing) with the following description of the contents:


    'Shelley (Samuel) 1750-1808, Artists Sketch Book, A Collection of 241 Studies in Pen and Bistro, Pencil and Crayon &c., consisting of Illustrations to the Poets, including Milton, Prior, Shakespeare, Wharton's Odes to Fancy, Don Quixote, Pegasus, between Tragedy and Comedy, Aldysus and Antigone, Lady Macbeth, Ophelia, Henry and Emma, Cupid and Psyche, Book illustrations, Portraits of Ladies &c., the whole mounted in a an old scrap book on dark grey paper, 4to, hf. bnd. (1 cover loose).'


    Our set contains landscape and architectural studies as well as sketches for portraits, subject pictures and genre scenes. Landscape and architectural studies, a rarity in Shelley’s oeuvre (with the only other example – an ink and watercolour drawing – at the Met), are the subject of at least seven drawings in the portfolio including one titled ‘Picturesque Cottage, St Margarets Bay, Dover’.


    In addition, there are a number of studies linked to Shelley’s miniatures exhibited at the Royal Academy, as well as his other drawings in various collections.


    This listing is for 2 drawings, one is drawn verso and the other recto on the same sheet of paper. The first drawing is numbered 115 and possibly depicts Christ preaching. It may be a study of Christ preaching the sermon on the mount as the figure is sat with his hand raised. It may also be Moses or another biblical figure.


    There is a study of a drawing verso and it is  not numbered. It may continue the depiction of Christ preaching or may be an early study for another picture. It was previously stuck on paper and this has been left in the corners. 


    Medium: pencil on paper, 13.6 x 13.7cm (sheet size). Note the sheet is loose and not mounted or framed.


    Provenance: Samuel Shelley's Sketchbook; Private Collection, U.K.


    Condition report: please see photographs. There is a small couple of centimetres tear on the left hand-side of drawing and also recto there is some paper still stuck in the corners of the drawing from a previous mounting. There is also a horizontal crease mark across the paper about 2cm down.


    We would like to thank Pola Durajska for her help in cataloguing our works by Shelley.

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