• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7435

    British Works on Paper

    21 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 46

    Benjamin West, P.R.A. (1738-1820)

    Study for 'The Last Supper'

    Price Realised  


    Benjamin West, P.R.A. (1738-1820)
    Study for 'The Last Supper'
    pencil, lightly squared, the outlines indented
    16 x 23½ in. (40.6 x 59.7 cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    The present drawing relates to the Last Supper now in Tate Britain (1784; fig. 1). The painting was one of two versions of the subject executed by West for King George III between 1784 and 1786, both intended for chapels at Windsor Castle. A similar study, slightly looser in style and emphasising the tonal qualities of the composition, rather than its disegno, was last recorded in a private collection (von Erffa & Staley, 345).

    The precision of the present drawing, along with the fact that it has been squared for transfer, may suggest that West executed it after the completion of the painting, in order to give guidance to an engraver.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    The artist's family, and by descent to
    Mrs P. Howard; Sotheby's, London, 22 March 1979, part of lot 26, where purchased by the present owner.


    H. von Erffa and A. Staley, op. cit., no. 344, n. 3.


    London, Royal Academy, 1784, no. 437.
    Texas, San Antonio Museum of Art, Revealed Religion: Benjamin West's Commissions for Windsor Castle and Fonthill Abbey, 18 September - 13 November 1983, no. 21.