George Arnald ARA, Napoleon Column Place Vendôme, Paris -c.1818 graphite drawing


An original c.1818 graphite drawing, George Arnald ARA Napoleon's Column, Place Vendôme, Paris.

A wonderful small topographical sketch by George Arnald ARA (1763-1841) showing detail on the pedestal of the Vendôme Column, which was erected at the centre of Place Vendôme by Napoleon I to commemorate the Battle of Austerlitz. The original column, pictured here, was torn down in 1871, by decree of the Paris Commune. It was subsequently re-built and remains a prominent feature of the square today.

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.

On laid paper. The paper has been professionally laid down at the edges onto a backing paper support, with the verso visible, as shown.

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

Unsigned. Inscribed in ink at the lower edge: 'S. west view of the pedestal of napoleons column Place Vendom'. Inscribed on the backing paper below: 'Place Vêndom - paris. George Arn[sic]'.
Overall in good condition for its age, there is some faint foxing to the paper in places, and toning towards the lower edge, as shown.
8.8cm x 11.4cm.

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-967

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