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Contact Exhibitor
Artist NameSir David Wilkie RA HRSA (1785-1841)
TitleYoung Girl with a Dog
Date of Artwork1829
Mediumpencil and watercolour with ink on paper
Size8 x 6 3/4 in. • 203 x 171 mm
Signedinscribed 'D Wilkie January 19th 1829'
Framed Dimensions12 1/4 x 11 in. • 31.1 x 27.9 cm


Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York;
Private collection, USA

Further Information

At the age of 40, and following a bout of ill-health, Wilkie set out on his Grand Tour of Europe in the summer of 1825. Travelling through France, Switzerland, Germany and Italy, he reached Spain in October 1827. He would remain there for seven months, studying the works of the Old Masters which he viewed at El Escorial, Madrid and in Toledo. Wilkie found the culture and history of Spain invigorating. He admired the 'sparkle and vivacity' of Velazquez in a letter to Sir Thomas Lawrence, drawing links between his portraits and those of Sir Henry Raeburn. 'I have now,' he wrote, 'from the study of the old Masters, adopted a bolder and, I think, a more effective style'. He was particularly taken with depictions of the Spanish Infantas, blending the splendour of their royal station with the innocence and simplicity of childhood.

While in Madrid he executed two works depicting a young Spanish girl, said to be the daughter of his host in Madrid. Her composition was later incorporated into his portrait of Princess (later Queen) Victoria. Our study dates between these portraits and was completed in 1829, the year after Wilkie's return to London. Stylistic and compositional elements from each are present. We cannot know whether this drawing was intended as a preparatory study for his portrait of Victoria, though the work forms a link between it and his Spanish studies.

Nicholas Tromans notes that 'Wilkie's handling of paint loosened in comparison with the minutely finished genre pictures which had made him famous ... Most importantly, almost every trace of the comic was erased from his art as the 16TH century Italian masters which he was now looking at so intently supplanted the more homely Netherlandish models of his early career'.