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Samuel Shelley (1750-1808) - 2 drawings including Philoclea, Arcadia
  • Samuel Shelley (1750-1808) - 2 drawings including Philoclea, Arcadia

    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 are not included with the 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 numbered 43 is a study from 'The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia' which is a long prose pastoral romance by Sir Philip Sidney written at the end of the 16th century. Shelley has inscribed it 'Philoclea' who was a daughter of Basilius alongside her sister Pamela. Our drawing clearly shows Philoclea in the centre and the femal character on the right may be Pamela.


    The drawing verso is not numbered and is smaller. It shows a female character sat by a tree with a cup in her hands. This may also be a Philoclea or another scene from Arcadia.


    Medium: pencil on paper, 19.2 x 11cm (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.


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

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