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George Romney, 1734–1802

Italian Sketchbook

Part Of:

Collective Title: Italian Sketchbook

Materials & Techniques:
Pen and black ink, pen and brown ink, and graphite on thin, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Spine: 6 1/2 inches (16.5 cm)

Signed and dated on verso of flyleaf in pen and brown ink: "Geo. Romney June 5 1773"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors-Sketchbooks
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
figure study | sketchbook | statue
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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For the British artist studying in Italy, the sketchbook was a crucial tool. Three on "classic ground" the act of drawing focused the attention and aided the understanding. Back in Britain the sketchbook provided not only a record of the art and landscape encountered but also a repertoire of poses, figural groupings, and compositional ideas from the ancients and the masters of the Renaissance and Baroque or of richly evocative landscape elements that could be incorporated into their own art. While their sketchbooks show them to have been eager and receptive students, both George Romney and John Flaxman made their visits to Italy as mature well-established artists. Romney interrupted a successful practice as a portrait painter to travel to Italy between 1773 and 177Flaxmanxman by 1787 had earned enough as a sculptor to afford a more extended stay in Italy, remaining there until 1794. The Sketchbooks by Romney and Flaxman are each filled with drawings after antique sculpture and works of the early high Renaissance in both Florence and Rome. Romney's sketches are freer and interspersed with original compositional studies; Flaxman's drawings are more disciplined, frequently worked up with pen and ink and wash.

Scott Wilcox

Wilcox, Forrester, O'Neil, Sloan. The Line of Beauty: British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century. Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2001. pg. 129, cat. no. 108, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Art in Focus : John Flaxman Modeling Bust of William Hayley (Yale Center for British Art, 2010-02-04 - 2010-05-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

The Line of Beauty : British Drawings and Watercolors of the Eighteenth Century (Yale Center for British Art, 2001-05-19 - 2001-08-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

The Grand Tour (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, 1998-01-10 - 1998-04-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Yvonne Romney Dixon, Romney Sketchbooks in Public Collections, Transactions of the Romney Society, vol. 8, 2003, pp. 36 (see cat. no. 23); pp. 60-63, no. 57, figs. 18 and 19, NJ18 R65 T7 2003 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Marciari, The Grand Tour : an exhibition held at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library 15 January through 31 March MCMCVIII, Yale University Library, New Haven, 1998, p. 22, N8214.5 .I8 M27 1998 + Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Nadia Tscherny, George Romney : Flaxman modelling the bust of Hayley, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 1985 ?, pp. 1, 8, no. 21, V 0101 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Scott Wilcox, Line of beauty : British drawings and watercolors of the eighteenth century, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pg. 127-129, cat. no. 108, NC228 W53 2001 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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