George Arnald ARA, Bastille Ruins, Paris - Original c.1818 graphite drawing


An original c.1818 graphite drawing, George Arnald ARA Bastille Ruins, Paris.

A wonderful small topographical sketch by George Arnald ARA (1763-1841) showing the remains of the Bastille fortress in post-Napoleonic Paris. The Bastille played an important role in the internal conflicts of France; for most of its history it was used as a state prison by the kings of France. Having been stormed by a crowd on 14 July 1789, in the French Revolution, it became an important symbol for the French Republican movement, after which it was demolished and replaced by the Place de la Bastille.

This is one of a set of five Paris subjects we have for sale, likely executed on Arnald’s 1818 tour of France. The sketches have an energetic, illustrative quality - the views drawn from unusual vantage points, and featuring vigorous foliage and small blotted figures.

In 1824 Arnald published a series drawings from his French travels entitled ‘Picturesque scenery on the river Meuse, from the city of Leige to that of Mézières’, engraved by eminent artists such as Samuel William Reynolds, Henry Edward Dawe and Charles Turner. The paper has been professionally laid down at the edges onto a backing paper support, with the verso visible, as shown. There are further graphite sketches on the verso.

Provenance: Covent Garden Gallery. Christie's 7 December 2016.

Unsigned. Inscribed in pencil lower right: 'Bastille 29'. Inscribed on the backing paper at the lower right: 'G. Arnald'.
In good condition for its age.
12.5cm x 10cm.

George Arnald ARA (1763-1841) specialised in landscape subjects, including topographical views to illustrated country histories. He is best known for his most celebrated and ambitious work ‘The Destruction of L'Orient at the Battle of the Nile’, now in the collection of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

He was a student of the landscape painter and engraver William Pether (c.1738-1821), a friend of fellow painter John Varley (1778-1842) with whom he toured Wales, and later in his career he tutored the portrait painter Henry William Pickersgill (1782-1875).

Little is known about Arnald’s early life; accounts variously give his birth place as Farndip (now Farndish) in Northamptonshire (now Bedfordshire) or Berkshire. He went on to exhibit 176 works at the Royal Academy and was elected an associate member in 1810. He also exhibited 63 works at the British Institution.

George Arnald’s works are held in a number of public collections, including the Yale Centre for British Art, Tate, Royal Academy of Art, National Portrait Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum.

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Product code: JK-970

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