William Lock the Younger, Mary Magdalene with Skull & Cross - c.1780 ink drawing


An original c.1780 pen & ink drawing, William Lock the Younger Mary Magdalene with Skull & Cross.

A wonderful double-sided, early sheet of drawings by William Lock the Younger of Norbury (1767-1847). On the face page is a captivating sketch of weeping Mary Magdalene, composed in an oval tondo format, whilst on the verso are multiple profile portrait studies.

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).

Although this drawing is undated, others in the group are dated 1780. This dates the works to early in Lock’s adolescence and shows his precocious talent and the early influence of Henry Fuseli.

In brown ink and graphite on laid paper. The sheet is accompanied by a backing sheet in a rough textured buff-coloured paper, which was the corresponding backing page from a folio.

Provenance: Covent Garden Gallery. Christie's 2016.

There is some minor buckling to the paper towards the upper edge, and creasing across the lower left corner and far upper left corner of the sheet. The paper has deckled edges, with some tiny nicks. There is a small amount of scattered foxing, as shown. On the verso there are historic patches of adhesive and paper remnants, where the paper was laid down. The backing paper has deckled edges with some small nicks, as shown, commensurate with age.
32.5cm x 24.5cm.

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-929

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