The laid-down drawings are generally on white paper, including: a sheet inscribed in French and mentioning Lady Laurie; the back of a list of Royal Academicians; and the back of an invitation- 'My Dear Sir/Pray do me the favour/to dine with me, if you can, on/Tuesday next 15th and 6½ o'clock/Yours very truly S. Rogers/St James's Place/If not, pray come in the Evg'. Tipped into the book is a fragment of a letter from Wilkie to Francis, Count Schönbrun of Frankfurt (Mainz), probably concerning the sale of the version of 'Guess my Name' (see lot 15) sent by Wilkie in 1821: '...I beg also to acknowledge with my best and heartiest thanks the receipt of the money for which I drew upon you through Mr. Rothschild of £103.5.0 being the price of the picture...'
The present drawings appear to span Wilkie's career, from some early landscapes to studies of the 1830s. A remarkable range of technique and subject matter is found on single sheets: on one, Wilkie juxtaposes a version of a half-length portrait in brown ink and wash, white chalk, and a black chalk study of a crowd, reminiscent of The Preaching of John Knox (1832). No comparable sketchbook is known to survive intact.
We are grateful to Professor Hamish Miles for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.