Description & Technical information

Part of a group of studies of drapery, male nudes and Egyptian costumes by Alma-Tadema, all apparently taken from an early sketchbook, have been dated to c.1857-1858, when the young artist was living and working in Antwerp as a studio assistant to Louis de Taeye. A number of the drawings in this group of drapery studies are clearly inscribed as preparatory studies for a painting called The Contrary Oracle, which either no longer exists, or never progressed beyond a preliminary stage. Almost nothing is known of this now-lost painting, although two pencil sketches for the composition – a large sheet showing a group of figures within a great hall, and another drawing, inscribed ‘for The contrary oracle’, depicting part of the architectural background - were part of the same sketchbook and shared the same Gosse provenance as the present group of drawings.

Date:  1857-1858
Period:  1850-1900, 19th century
Origin:  The Netherlands, Germany
Medium: Pencil, Red and white chalk, Buff paper
Signature: Inscribed (by the artist’s daughter Anna) with the artist’s initials LAT at the centre right.

Dimensions: 27.5 x 34.1 cm (10⁷/₈ x 13³/₈ inches)
Provenance: The studio of the artist
The artist’s brother-in-law, Sir Edmund William Gosse, London
By descent in the Gosse family until the 1920s or 1930s
Acquired by a private collector
Thence by descent.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints