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Samuel Shelley (1750-1808) - 3 Drawings Figure studies including Zaide
  • Samuel Shelley (1750-1808) - 3 Drawings Figure studies including Zaide

    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 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 three drawings on three seperate sheets. They are numbered 177, 261 and 262.


    No. 177 depicts two figures by a tree on the right. The character on the left appears to have wings and may be a cherub. No. 261 is a pen and ink study of a sorrowful figure with mountains possibly in the distance. It has a couple of inscriptions with the one on the top being difficult to decipher but the one on the bottom says 'Zaide'. This may be a a study for Mozart's opera of the same name. No. 262 may also be a study for Zaide as it is numbered just after the previous work. This study by Shelley is in pencil and dpecits two figures in a forest glade with a mountain in the distance.


    Medium: pencil and pen and ink on paper, No. 177 measures 5.4 x 4.7cm, No. 261 measures 4.7 x 4.2cm and No. 262 measures 5.6 x 5.6cm. Note the sheets are loose and not mounted or framed.


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


    Condition report: please see photographs, each sheet has some time staining.


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

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