Studies of Fairies with a Pair of Hands (possibly representing the Opening of Pandora's Box)

Artist:
William Lock the Younger (British, 1767–1847)
Date:
1784
Medium:
Graphite and red chalk, pen and brown ink, brush and gray wash, and white gouache
Dimensions:
sheet: 14 15/16 x 21 3/4 in. (38 x 55.3 cm), irreg.
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, 2004
Accession Number:
2004.264
Not on view
The son of a prominent art collector, Lock studied with William Gilpin and became a favorite of Henry Fuseli who described the youth's drawings as "unrivaled by any man of this day...for invention, taste and spirit." Despite such encouragement, Lock largely gave up artistic practice while still in his twenties.This sheet of sketches centers on an open casket containing female figures and winged creatures whose classical drapery and idealized bodies recall Fuseli’s depictions of Ariel from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," and Gloriana from Spenser's "Faerie Queene." Other forms, such as the thin-winged creature at the far left, anticipate the fanciful fairies created by Victorian artists.
Inscription: Signed in pen and brown ink at the upper right of the verso: "W.m Lock Aug.t 1784 --"
Inscribed in brown ink at the center right of the recto: "Adieu"
Elizabeth Lock, later Lady Wallscourt (British); Joseph, 13th Lord Wallscourt (British); Daniel Shackleton, prob. purchased Ireland from descendants of preceding; Christie's, London, Nov. 20, 2003, lot 35; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel , Munich
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," October 8, 2014–December 8, 2014.

Daniel Shackleton, Exhibition of Drawings by William Lock of Norbury, 1767-1847 (pamphlet published in conjunction with an exhibition held at Daniel Shackleton, in conjunction with the Edinburgh Festival, 1990), cat. no. 1.
Exhibition of Drawings by William Lock of Norbury (1767-1847). Ex. cat. Daniel Shackleton, 1990, illustrated as "Adieu", cat. no. 1.

Christie's, London British Art on Paper. Auction catalogue. November 20, 2003, lot 35, p. 22 (as attributed to William Lock of Norbury, Jun.).