Standing female Figure
  • George Romney
  • Dalton-le-Furness 1734 - 1802 Kendal
  • Standing female Figure
  • Pen and brown ink, over pencil, on laid paper
  • 326 × 167 mm
Abbott & Holder, London (ca. 1959)
Collection Ralph Holland, Ham (1917-2012)

In 1751, George Romney began an apprenticeship with Christopher Steel in Kendal, a township in northwest England. He founded his first atelier there, until his artistic calling finally led him to London in 1762. Alongside Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), Romney rose to prominence there as one of the most important portrait painters of his time in England. He received commissions from the most elite circles and was eagerly consulted for the establishment of large collections.

Romney went on several study trips to France and Italy, where he gained inspiration from the painters of the Renaissance. In Rome, he engaged the sculptor John Flaxman (1755-1826) to create his own private cast collection.

Drawings supported the artist throughout his entire life, from the beginning of his artistic activity in Kendal, during his difficult years with depression or bodily infirmities, and even after he had laid his paintbrush aside in old age.

Thus, drawings served him not only as a necessary preparation for his paintings, but above all as the ideal medium to launch his search for an ideal form. After 1770, Romney substituted the rather careful pencil studies of his early working years with a completely personalized style using pen and pencil, which captured, spontaneously and with a powerful stroke, the essence of the human figure on paper. Despite his astonishingly modern reduction of form, Romney nevertheless understood how to harness the atmosphere and voice of the figures he depicted.

This drawing of a young woman lost in sorrow and lonely despair shows the wonderful essence of George Romney’s timeless art.