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    Sale 7813

    Glin Castle - A Knight in Ireland

    7 May 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 118

    Robert Healy (1743-1771)

    Portrait of Miss Cunningham holding her King Charles spaniel, small full length

    Price Realised  


    Robert Healy (1743-1771)
    Portrait of Miss Cunningham holding her King Charles spaniel, small full length
    signed and dated 'R: Healy. 1770' (lower right)
    black and white chalk heightened with bodycolour
    23 x 16¾ in. (58.4 x 42.5 cm.)

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    Healy was educated at the Dublin Society Drawing Schools under Robert West. This establishment excelled in teaching the art of pastel and many artists who worked in the medium left the Drawing School with exceptional skills.

    Robert Healy was perhaps one of the most original of these artists because of his decision to work entirely in grisaille. His drawings were described by Anthony Pasquin (1761-1818) as 'proverbial for their exquisite softness; they look like fine proof prints of the most capital messotinto engraving' (A. Pasquin, Memoirs of the Royal Academies, London, 1794, p. 18). The delicate style of this drawing with its varying depths of chalk colouring is an apt justification of this description.

    Healy is perhaps best known for his bust portraits, examples of which hang in the National Gallery of Ireland. He also drew many small full-length portraits, usually of women. The present drawing is a fine example of these works. A gentle and sentimental atmosphere is created through the elegance of the figure and the fashionably rustic background. It has been suggested that the young lady in the portrait is one of the daughters of the Surgeon-General Alexander Cunningham (see lot 117).

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    Crookshank & Glin, The Painters of Ireland, 1978, p. 76, pl. 61.
    Crookshank & Glin, The Watercolours of Ireland, 1994, pp. 62-3.


    London, P. & D. Colnaghi, Exhibition of English Drawings and Watercolours, 17 May - 17 June 1972, no. 95, pl. XXXV.