The beautiful washerwoman

Sir Thomas Lawrence

(Bristol, 1769 - London, 1830)

The beautiful washerwoman

Black and red chalks
63.5 x 41.6 cm

- Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Lord Houghton (1808-1885)
- then by descent to Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe (1915-2014)

- Leeds, The Royal Yorkshire Jubilee Exhibition, 1887, unnumbered 

Thomas Lawrence was the finest portrait painter of his generation in Europe. Lacking in formal and artistic education, he nevertheless scaled the most dazzling heights of his profession. Through his prodigious talents and ambition, he became the most popular chronicler of fashionable London society.

He formed a superb collection of Old Master drawings and was a highly skilled draftsman himself. His works on paper range from friendship portraits and commissioned portrait drawings to sketches of historical events. He produced intimate drawings in delicate black and red chalk or pastel throughout his life, mostly for his own pleasure. Lawrence had a remarkable abililty to infuse his characterizations with life and sensibility. Like on the present drawing, his sitters often appear in the midst of actual life, pausing for a brief interval to allow the artist to capture their likeness.