Description & Technical information

The lower of the two hands on the present sheet may be a study for the right hand of the sitter in one of Richmond’s finest formal portraits, that of The Viscountess Hood, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1888 and today in a private collection. Born Edith Drummond Ward, Lady Hood was the wife of the 4th Viscount Hood, and Richmond’s portrait of her was much praised by critics at the time of its exhibition. The Times described the portrait as ‘elaborate, profoundly studied and supremely elegant’, to which the Athenaeum added ‘attractive, brilliant and very distinctly Italian...[a] chef d’oeuvre’, while the Illustrated London News noted of the painting that it was ‘a magnificent work conceived and executed in Richmond’s best style’ and The Art Journal called it ‘far and away the best work sent anywhere this year by Mr. W. B. Richmond.’

A very similar hand, although in reverse, appears in another painting by the artist that was also exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1888; a portrait of Mrs. J. A. Fuller-Maitland, now in the City Museum in Lancaster. Similar hands are also found elsewhere in Richmond’s work, such as a painting of Electra at the Tomb of Agamemnon of 1876, in the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

Period:  1850-1900, 19th century
Origin:  England
Medium: Black and white chalk on brown paper
Dimensions: 37.9 x 20 cm (14⁷/₈ x 7⁷/₈ inches)
Provenance: Alister Mathews, Bournemouth
William E. Fischelis, Jr., Philadelphia
Private collection.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints