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Sir Robert Ker Porter (1777-1842) - Soldier with family sheltering from battle
  • Sir Robert Ker Porter (1777-1842) - Soldier with family sheltering from battle

    This interesting watercolour by Ker Porter depicts a soldier with a woman and child whilst a battle occurs in the distance. The gridlines help to suggest that Ker Porter used this watercolour as a prelimanary work that was later upscaled to a larger work. The artist was always fascinated in depicting battle scenes and from 1800-1804 he worked at the Lyceum Theatre where he produced his famous 'Storming of Seringapatam' panorama. Although this work most likely does not link to this panorama it could easily have been used for another theatre exhibition.


    It is furthermore worth considering Joseph Wright of Derby's famous 'The Dead Soldier' painting from 1789 (included in photographs). Ker Porter would almost certainly have been aware of this important work due to its popularity and also its wide circulation in print.  Although Ker Porter's soldier is alive unlike Wright of Derby's, there is a strong similarity with the woman and child. The canon in the backdrop of Wright of Derby's painting suggests there is a battle going on and Ker Porter has depicted calvary in the distance which suggests the same in his work.


    Lastly, Ker Porter produced various drawings for a series on volunteer regiments in the late 1790s that were then produced as engravings. This current work could easily have been linked to a project similar to this.


    Medium: watercolour on paper, 20.2 x 18 cm, mounted.


    Provenance: Cyril and Shirley Fry Collection (the late owners of the Fry Gallery).

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