Richard Parkes BONINGTON (Arnold 1802 - London 1828)

A Young Woman Asleep Sold

Watercolour, over an underdrawing in pencil.
A sketch of a young girl in pencil on the verso.
133 x 110 mm. (5 1/4 x 4 3/8 in.)


This charming small watercolour may be grouped with a handful of other drawings of a young woman, wearing a cap or bonnet, of around 1827-1828. These late works by Bonington include four pen and ink drawings in the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, CT, as well as pencil studies of what appears to be the same sitter in the Yale Center for British Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT., and a private collection in Paris.

Patrick Noon has noted that ‘The woman in these drawings was undoubtedly more than a casual acquaintance or professional model, since she sat for the artist in different contemporary dresses and several of the sketches appear to be portraits rather than pose studies. In all likelihood she was one of the artist’s friends, such as a daughter of the Rev. Edward Forster, the Protestant minister in Paris whom Bonington had befriended several years earlier.’ Some of these drawings, as well as a pen and ink drawing of a young woman in 17th century costume in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. may in turn be related to a small painting by Bonington entitled The Green Skirt or Le Billet Doux, in a private collection.

A stylistic comparison may be made with Bonington’s only extant self-portrait drawing; an equally small and intimate pen and wash study in the British Museum, datable to between 1825 and 1826. Both drawings show the particular influence of the French artists with whom Bonington was friendly in Paris, and in particular Delacroix.

Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 9 November 1999, lot 38.

Patrick Noon, Richard Parkes Bonington: the complete paintings, New Haven and London, 2008, p.410, no.383a (where dated c.1827-1828); Peter Forster and Rebecca Krämer, ed., Delacroix - Courbet - Ribot: Positionen französischer Kunst des 19. Jahrhunderts, exhibition catalogue, Wiesbaden, 2017-2018, p.87, no.45.

Richard Parkes BONINGTON

A Young Woman Asleep


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