Quentin Durward and the Disguised Louis XI (recto); Study of male figure (verso)
Richard Parkes Bonington (British, Arnold, Nottinghamshire 1802–1828 London)
1825 or 1826
Watercolor over graphite
sheet: 5 3/4 x 4 1/4 in. (14.6 x 10.8 cm)
Purchase, Jeffrey L. Berenson, Charles and Jessie Price and Catherine G. Curran Gifts, 2004
Not on view
Working in Paris, Bonington established new standards of watercolor painting, and here uses the medium to encapsulate an episode near the start of Sir Walter Scott's "Quentin Durward" (1823). That novel dramatizes the fifteenth-century power struggle between Louis XI and Charles, Duke of Burgundy, and initially proved more popular in France than Britain. The title character, seen here at right, is a young Scot of good family who travels to the castle of Plessisles-Tours in France to seek employment in the king's band of Scottish archers. Fording a flooded river, Durward has nearly drowned, and now upbraids two on-lookers who failed to warn him of the danger. Dressed as merchants, they are in fact Louis XI and Tristan l'Hermite, Marshall of France. The king–calling himself Maître Pierre and sporting red hose–admires the young man's spirit, which Bonington conveys through his assertive stance. For much of the twentieth century this drawing was known only through Edward Goodall's engraving, created to illustrate volume thirty-one, in a forty-eight volume set, of the Waverly Novels published by Robert Cadell in 1831.
Signature: Signed and dated, lower left, "RPB 1825 [or 1826?]"
Inscription: Inscribed in graphite on mount under image: "Quentin Durward" Inscribed in graphite on right edge of mount: "P Curran" ["P" is circled] Inscribed in graphite at lower left corner of mount: "[check mark] 95" Inscribed in graphite at lower right corner of mount: "20" Inscribed in graphite at center of verso: "Quentin Durward R.P. Bonington"
Robert Cadell (British, active early 19th century)(1825 or 1826); Lewis Brown (British, 19th century)(1831)Probably bought the drawing from Cadell.; Christie's, London, May 28, 1835, lot 48Bought Allnutt; Sir Thomas Alnutt, 2nd Earl of Brassey (British, 1863–1919), and by descent; Christie's, London, November 17, 1987, lot 95Bought Feigen.; Richard L. Feigen & Co., New York; Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," January 24, 2005–April 24, 2005.
Noon 2008, no. 328; Noon 1991, no. 60
Albert Dubuisson, Cecil Eldred Hughes Richard Parkes Bonington: his life and work. London, 1924, p. 164.
Douglas Cooper "Bonington and Quentin Durward." Burlington Magazine. vol. 88, May 1946, p. 116.
Patrick Noon Richard Parkes Bonington: 'On the Pleasure of Painting.' Ex. cat., Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, and Petit Palais, Paris. 1991, cat. no. 60, p.163.
Patrick Noon Richard Parkes Bonington: The Complete Paintings. Yale University Press, New Haven, 2008, cat. no. 328.
Artist: Attributed to Richard Parkes Bonington (British, Arnold, Nottinghamshire 1802–1828 London)Date: 1824–27Medium: Watercolor over traces of graphite on cream paperAccession: 1975.1.876On view in:Not on view