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Arthur William Devis (London 1729-1817)
Arthur William Devis (London 1729-1817)

Portrait study of Captain Sir Thomas Hardy for 'The Death of Lord Nelson'

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Arthur William Devis (London 1729-1817)
Portrait study of Captain Sir Thomas Hardy for 'The Death of Lord Nelson'
signed 'A W Devis' (lower left) and inscribed 'Sketched on board the Victory./Capt. Sir Thomas Hardy Bart.' (lower centre) and with inscription 'The sketch made on board the Victory for The Death/of Nelson by Devis Capt. Hardy' (upper centre on the mount)
pencil, unframed
6½ x 5 in. (16.5 x 12.7 cm.); with a sheet of studies for 'The Death of Lord Nelson' (recto) and a study of a plant (verso), and a pencil head study of Admiral Lord Nelson, after Hoppner by another hand (3)

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Lot Essay

A study for the head of Hardy in Devis's The Death of Nelson (1807), National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

The publisher Josiah Boydell announced a prize for the best painting of The Death of Nelson which he would subsequently engrave. Devis was released from debtors' prison for the purpose and was allowed to spend a week on board HMS Victory making sketches. Devis's main competitor was Benjamin West, but it was Devis's picture that was eventually engraved in 1812.

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