George Evans, Artist Sketches, People and Plants - 18th-century graphite drawing

An original 18th-century graphite drawing, George Evans Artist Sketches, People and Plants.

A whimsical collection of artist observational sketches, in graphite with brown ink overdrawing, of figural and landscape subjects, such as trees, children at play, and sculptural figures. Upper half of the Pro Patria 'Maid of Dort' watermark visible on the right side of page three. 

Minor foxing as shown. Minor age toning around paper edges. Page one: small paper tear to the lower left corner; paper loss and fraying along the left edge as shown; translucent spot in paper where it has worn away in the upper left quadrant, near the woman's skirt. Page two: in good condition for its age. Page three: large crease to the upper and lower left corners; paper loss to those same corners; erased graphite marks on front as shown; graphite smudges verso.  
Each: 19.5 cm x 15.1cm.

This drawing forms part of a collection of mid-18th century works we have for sale by George Evans, which are a testament to Evans’s observational practice as a skilled artisan.

George Evans (d. 1770) was an interior painter, budding architect and portraitist, and one of the 1766 founding members, along with Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Joseph Wright of Derby, of the Society of Incorporated Artists of Great Britain, a precursor to the Royal Academy. He also counted amongst his circle the illustrious satirical painter William Hogarth,  who commissioned Evans to exhibit his works as part of a fundraiser for the construction of the London Foundling Hospital – a building which Evans also helped to decorate.

Evans can be found in a listing in Edward Edwards’ 1808 Anecdotes of Painters who have Resided or Been Born in England, where he is identified as a house painter, portrait painter and [...] member of the private academy at St Martin’s Lane. House painter was meant quite literally – Evans worked as a craftsman under the celebrated architect William Chambers on a number of illustrious houses during the 1750s, including Northumberland, Norfolk and Egremont (Cambridge) House.  He also worked on the pagoda at Kew Gardens, and Somerset House, the future home to the Royal Academy.

In addition to his work as an interior designer, Evans  is listed as having exhibited a number of works with the Society of Artists, such as a 1761  “drawing and design for a chimney piece” and a 1764  “a (little) boy at play. (Wheeling a Kitten in a barrow). The latter is represented by a similar drawing of a boy with a wheelbarrow in this collection, which may be a preparatory sketch for the now lost finished work.

Like his compatriots Reynolds and Gainsborough, Evans shows a preference for the flowing beauty of the pastoral, while also nodding to Hogarth in his sketches of working class characters. Evans also uses these observations to inform his architectural designs, a handful of which appear in this collection. These drawings are a perfectly formed microcosm of the exciting world of emerging art, design and fashion in eighteenth-century London - a world which Evans himself helped to shape.

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Product code: JF-874

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