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De Wilde, Samuel, 1751-1832

Theatrical drawings.

Physical Description:
1 v. (24 drawings) : ill. ; 37 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
PN2593.D4 T44 1790+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Drawings & Watercolors
The artist Samuel De Wilde is best known for his theatrical portraits painted from 1791 until his death in 1832. From his London studio at 9 Tavistock Row, Covent Garden, De Wilde painted the portraits of many actors and actresses from the nearby Drury Lane and Covent Garden theaters. He provided 93 portraits for John Bell's The British Theatre, a series that ran from 1791 until 1795. His work also appeared in the Monthly Mirror (1795-1811), John Cawthorn's Minor British Theatre (1806), and William Oxberry's New English Drama (1818-1821).
Bound in late 19th-century quarter red morocco and red cloth.
Album of theatrical portraits or scenes, in graphite, by Samuel De Wilde. All drawings are undated and unsigned, but the album itself has spine title: De Wilde, original drawings, 1788-1832. The only other evidence of date is a watermark in the paper of the final drawing, dated 1831. The drawings are infrequently captioned, and some of the captions are partially illegible. Based on the available captions, there appear to be several drawings of scenes from Love in a Village, depicting the characters of Justice Woodcock and Debra Woodcock. The role of Justice Woodcock may be played by the actor William Dowton (cf. Highfill, A biographical dictionary). Dowton may also be depicted as Dr. Cantwell in The Hypocrite (ca. 1812). Other drawings include many scenes of fashionable young ladies, two variations of a scene in a farrier's shop, a pair of hunters, a young lady at the harp, "Flirting", "John and Henry Harte" (young children), and several sheets with multiple studies of heads.
All drawings are in graphite alone. All are relatively finished and probably served as preliminary sketches for paintings by De Wilde. The drawings are executed on separate sheets of paper that have been tipped in to the album. They vary in size from about 15 x 13 cm to 27 x 24 cm. Many leaves of the album are blank, and it appears that a number of drawings may have been removed, perhaps by a previous owner.
Subject Terms:
Actors -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Actresses -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
De Wilde, Samuel, 1751-1832.
Dowton, William, 1764-1851.
English drama -- Pictorial works.
Theater -- Great Britain -- Pictorial works.
Graphite drawings.

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