5 June 2006
Sir David Wilkie, R.A. (1785-1841)
Study for 'The Penny Wedding'
black, red and white chalk on buff paper
6 x 5 in. (15.2 x 12.9 cm.)
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O. Millar, Later Georgian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London, 1969, p. 138.
London, Hazlitt, Gooden and Fox, Eliot Hodgkin Painter and Collector, 14 March-10 April 1990, no. 119.
A study for the hands of the girl standing at the left of The Penny Wedding now in the Royal Collection. The picture was commissioned by the Prince Regent in 1813 as a companion piece to Blind Man's Buff, also in the Royal Collection. It was Wilkie's first commission from the Prince and he seems to have begun work on the composition by 1817. It arrived at Carlton House in January 1819. During the period 1823-1828 it was at King's Lodge, Windsor, and featured in the Royal Academy Exhibition of 1819 and the Royal Institution Exhibition in Edinburgh in 1829. It was returned to Wilkie after the King's death in 1831 and he ensured it was sent to Buckingham Palace where it has remained ever since.
A penny wedding is a marriage festival, at one time common in Scotland, where the guests pay towards the cost of the marriage feast and the housekeeping expenses of the newly-weds. Owing to the disorder that these occasions often provoked they were discouraged by the Presbyterian church and had all but died out by the time Wilkie was painting the subject.
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