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Sir David Wilkie RA, Guess My Name
Sir David Wilkie RA, Guess My Name

Guess My Name, ca. 1821

Sir David Wilkie RA (1785 - 1841)

RA Collection: Art

This drawing shows an alternative version of the scene depicted in David Wilkie's painting 'Guess My Name' (1821; private collection). In the painting the questioner is a young woman holding her hands over the eyes of a young man. In this drawing the protagonists are replaced by a young boy, and an older woman, presumably a relative. On the left is a small child and another woman, rising from her seat to see the guest.

Wilkie's biographer, Allan Cunningham, noted that the artist developed this composition as 'an after subject' while he was at work on his 'great national work', 'The Chelsea Pensioners reading the Waterloo Gazette'.

These drawings by Sir David Wilkie are all mounted in an album of studies probably put together by the artist's brother. According to the artist and Royal Academy librarian Solomon Hart 'they are a portion of a series of sketches of pictures, which he [Wilkie] from time to time sent to a brother, an officer in the Indian Army. He, it seems, used to give them to his brother-officers' children, who bedaubed them with common watercolours. Such as escaped I had the good fortune to acquire for the Academy, from a sister of some of these juvenile artists' (Alexander Brodie ed., The Reminiscences of Solomon Alexander Hart R.A., London, 1882, p.66)

Included in the album are sketches relating to some of Wilkie's best-known works including 'The Penny Wedding' (1818; Royal collection), 'The Breakfast' (1817; Private collection) and 'Chelsea Pensioners Reading the Gazette of the Battle of Waterloo' (1818-22, Apsley House).

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Object details

Guess My Name
Sir David Wilkie RA (1785 - 1841)
ca. 1821
Object type
Pen and ink on cream wove paper

110 mm x 85 mm

Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Purchased from Sophy M. Patton in 1871 and Solomon Alexander Hart RA in 1871
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