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The Door of a Grotto
(British, Southwark, London 1740/41–1813 Twickenham, London)
Watercolor and graphite
Sheet: 11 in. × 13 1/2 in. (27.9 × 34.3 cm)
Purchase, Jeffrey L. Berenson and Raymond Lifchez Living Trust Gifts, 2014
Not on view
Marlow made this drawing during a trip to France and Italy in 1765 and centered the image on a rough wooden doorway that covers the entrance to a grotto. Dynamic lines of chalk or graphite establish the composition, with colored washes applied freely to describe shadowed rocks and hanging vines. The artist's delight in the subject is suggested through free brushwork that captures the effects of strong sunlight playing across rough stone. Marlow anticipates the expressive use of watercolor that Francis Towne and Thomas Jones would develop in Rome and Naples in the 1780s.
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