William Lock the Younger, Classical Soldiers with Raised Dagger - 1780 drawing


An original 1780 graphite drawing, William Lock the Younger Classical Soldiers with Raised Dagger.

A fantastic early study by William Lock the Younger of Norbury (1767-1847). On the face page is a soldier in armour and a figure with dagger aloft. The figures' dramatic pose has a theatrical appearance suggesting a Shakespearean or other literary subject. On the verso is a further brief ink sketch and an inscription, possibly ‘Pericles’.

William Lock was a talented draughtsman working in the circle of Henry Fuseli in Rome towards the end of the 18th century, known for his drawings of historical, mythological, biblical and Shakespearean subjects. Sir Horace Walpole was a great admirer of his work and Fuseli described the young Lock’s drawings as ‘unrivaled by any man of this day...for invention, taste and spirit.’

This drawing is one of a collection of Lock’s drawings that we have for sale, the cover of which beared the signature of Lock (see photo).

The drawing is dated 1780, which dates the works to early in Lock’s adolescence and shows his precocious talent and the early influence of Henry Fuseli.

In graphite and brown ink (verso) on a rough textured buff-coloured laid paper.

The sheet is accompanied by a backing sheet in the same paper, which was the corresponding backing page from a folio.

Provenance: Covent Garden Gallery. Christie's 2016.

Unsigned. Dated lower centre.
There are some imperfections and creasing to the paper, including a crease line running horizontally towards the top edge, a very slight crease above centre, and a crease running obliquely across the lower left. Some buckling to the paper at the left-hand edge, and surface scratching at the lower left. Scattered brown ink marks as shown.

The backing sheet has deckled edges, with nicks and some age toning, commensurate with age.

28.4cm x 17.1cm.

William Lock was son of noted collector William Lock of Norbury (1732-1810), who was a well-known and important patron and collector of several major contemporary artists, including George Barret, Thomas Lawrence, Richard Wilson and Henry Fuseli. William Lock (elder) acquired a number of Richard Wilson’s drawings from when the pair travelled together from Venice to Rome, he commissioned George Barret and Bartolomeo Cipriani to decorate his estate at Norbury in Surrey, and Thomas Lawrence produced portraits of both Lock father and son (now in Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Yale Centre for British Art respectively).

Lock the Younger studied with William Gilpin, but it was his father’s patronage of Henry Fuseli, however, that was to have the greatest influence on him. He became a pupil and close friend of Fuseli, and the influence of Fuseli’s style and subject matter is evident in Lock’s work. Fuseli was a frequent visitor at Norbury and he dedicated his lectures on painting to him. Despite this encouragement, Lock largely gave up artistic practice while still in his twenties.

William Lock the Younger’s work is in a number of public collections, including Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, Yale Centre for British Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.

Text copyright © 2018 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JK-925

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