21 November 2007,
London, King Street
Price Realised GBP 4,375
Benjamin West, P.R.A. (1738-1820)
Philosophers disputing: a capriccio using figures from Salvator Rosa's 'Figurine' etchings
pencil, pen and brown ink, brown wash, on buff paper
17½ x 15¼ in. (44.4 x 38.7 cm.)
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To compose the scene West took individual figures from Rosa's series of Figurine etchings. The ascetic figure on the left with the staff is taken from a ragged man with a staff and gourd (Bartsch 75); the soldier wearing a breastplate in the right background is a reversed copy of the left-hand figure in an etching of three warriors (Bartsch 60); and the helmeted figure in the right foreground is also a close quotation from the Figurine (Bartsch 51). The seated figure, holding a mirror or panel, appears to derive from the helmeted man's companion in Bartsch 51, and from a range of other seated figures in Rosa's series, although it seems odd that he alone should lack a direct prototype in the Figurine.
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 20 November 1979, lot 74, where purchased by the present owner.