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William Bell Scott (1811-1890)
William Bell Scott (1811-1890)

Arthur Hughes reading

William Bell Scott (1811-1890)
Arthur Hughes reading
signed with initials 'W.B.S' and dated '3 October 1886' and possibly signed by the sitter 'Arthur Hughes' (lower right)
pencil, pen and ink, on paper
7¼ x 4¼ in. (18.4 x 10.8 cm.)
Penkill Castle, Ayrshire; Sotheby's, 3 December 1962, part of lot 112. with The Maas Gallery, London, 1964.
G. Reynolds, 'The Pre-Raphaelites and their Circle', Apollo, June 1971, p. 498.
London, The Maas Gallery, The Pre-Raphaelites/Art Nouveau, 1964, no. 120.
King's Lynn, Fermoy Art Gallery, The Pre-Raphaelites as Painters and Draughtsmen, 1971, no. 98.

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Lot Essay

The Pre-Raphaelite painters Arthur Hughes (1832-1915) and William Bell Scott had known one another since early days, having many friends in common, but they became closer in 1886 when Scott recommended Hughes to take his place as an examiner at the National Art-Training School at South Kensington. A long correspondence ensued, first between Hughes and Scott, and then, following Scott's death in November 1890, between Hughes and Alice Boyd, with whom Scott had lived at Penkill Castle, Ayrshire, until Alice herself died seven years later. A selection from Hughes's side of the correspondence has been published, providing invaluable information about the life and work of the later Pre-Raphaelite circle.

During these years Hughes made a series of visits to Penkill, the first in the autumn of 1886, arriving just in time to celebrate Scott's seventy-fifth birthday on 12 September, others in 1887, 1891, 1893 and 1894. The present drawing was made during the first visit and was one of two that Scott executed on 3 October, both showing Hughes reading a book. Hughes returned the compliment, using his visit to paint a portrait of Scott as well as a view of the castle gardens with Alice Boyd and her dog taking a walk.

For a full account of the relationship between Hughes, Scott and Miss Boyd, see Leonard Roberts and Stephen Wildman, Arthur Hughes: A Catalogue Raisonné, Woodbridge, 1997, pp. 30-33. The second drawing Scott executed of Hughes is illustrated on p. 31, and Hughes's paintings of Scott and the Penkill gardens are respectively cat. nos. 215.2 (col. pl. 86) and 214 (col. pl. 85).

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