A study for a painting begun in 1784 when Romney was staying with his friend, the writer and poet William Hayley, at Eartham, his Sussex home. According to Hayley, it depicted 'a female child of seven years, of the size of life, kneeling by the side of a dead fawn, beneath a massive tree, split by lightning, which had killed her favourite animal... her sorrow is most exquisitely expressed' (A. Kidson, George Romney, A complete Catalogue of His Paintings, 2015, III, p. 818). The painting was sold at Hayley's posthumous sale in these Rooms, 15 February 1821, lot 135, and is now untraced. There is a slightly smaller related drawing of the same subject in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
Alfred de Pass (1861 - 1952) was a South African born businessman, who amassed a considerable collection, much of which he gave to various museums, including Falmouth, Bristol, Plymouth, Truro, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Museum and South African National Gallery, Cape Town. He collected work from across the centuries, in a range of disciplines as well as being a patron of living artists, in particular Henry Scott Tuke.
We are grateful to Alex Kidson for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.