Hagar and Ishmael in the Wilderness (recto); Two Portrait Studies of the Artist's Wife, and a Study of a Leg and Torso (verso)
George Richmond (British, Brompton 1809–1896 London)
Graphite, pen and black ink, brush and black wash, with white gouache on paper (recto); graphite and black chalk with touches of gouache on paper (verso)
sheet: 17 1/2 x 12 13/16 in. (44.5 x 32.6 cm)
Purchase, Isaacson-Draper Foundation Gift, 2002
Not on view
After bearing a son to her childless master, Abraham, the Egyptian slave Hagar was expelled from the household by his jealous wife, Sarah, and forced to wander in the wilderness of Beersheba (Gen. 21:9-14). Richmond presents Hagar striding forward, carrying water in a skin slung from a yoke while guiding her son, Ishmael. The Old Testament relates that God subsequently protected the pair when their water ran out. The artist drew them with youthful exuberance, basing Hagar's profile and statuesque form on precedents in Michelangelo and Raphael. At this early stage in his career Richmond belonged to the Ancients, an idealistic artistic brotherhood that deeply admired the work of William Blake and the Renaissance. The figures are defined in graphite and ink, the shadows in wash, and highlights in white gouache. The artist also used the sheet to work out details-for example, sketching an alternate version of the boy's legs at upper left and moving Hagar's left hand from its previous position near her thigh upward to support the yoke. Richmond then partially worked the preliminary lines into the surrounding landscape. On the verso Richmond sketched his wife Julia, with whom he had eloped at the age of twenty-one. The two would have fifteen children, ten of whom survived infancy, including the painter Sir William Blake Richmond, named for his father's artistic mentor.
Descendants of the artist; Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., in association with W/S Fine Art, London, in 2001; Vendor: Flavia Ormond Fine Arts Limited
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," July 15, 2002–October 6, 2002.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," April 14, 2008–July 13, 2008.
Susan Sloman, Andrew Wyld, Colin Harrison Missing Pages: George Richmond, R.A., 1809–1896, Drawings, Watercolours, Letters, Journals & Notebooks: An Exhibition Presented by Agnew's in association with W/S Fine Art Dealer cat. Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., W.S Fine Art Ltd. / Andrew Wyld, London, October 31–November 23, 2001, cat. no. 14.
Master Drawings, 1500-1895. Flavia Ormond Fine Arts Limited, London, January 21–February 8, 2002.