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William Mulready RA, Life drawing of a kneeling nude female seen from the back

Life drawing of a kneeling nude female seen from the back, ca. 1800?

William Mulready RA (1786 - 1863)

RA Collection: Art

A black and white chalk drawing of a kneeling female nude viewed from the back. Mulready was a student at the Royal Academy Schools from 1800. Unmarried students were not permitted to draw from the nude female model until they were 20 years of age but as Mulready married Elizabeth Varley when he was 17 he would have been admitted to the class. This drawing is probably one of Mulready's student drawings but it is difficult to date with certainty as the artist maintained a great interest in life-drawing throughout his life. An entry in Richard Redgrave's diary notes; ' I believe Mulready is seventy-three, and yet there he is, hard at work at the 'Life', like any young student. He is not only attending as Visitor, and drawing at the Royal Academy, but he is one of a party who meet three times a week at Ansdell's for studying from the life' ( cited in Rorimer, see ref below, p.33).

William Mulready enrolled as a student at the Royal Academy Schools in 1800 and it is possible that he carried out some of these drawings in the life class there. The drawings in this group are probably early in date and certainly bear some resemblance to examples of Mulready's student drawings in the V&A collection.

The young artist's talent as a draughtsman was acknowledged in 1806 when he was awarded the Academy's Silver Medal. Joseph Farington noted at the time that 'Mulready is reckoned to draw the best, but sets Himself high upon it as if He had done His business'. Mulready retained a great enthusiasm for life-drawing throughout his career, particularly from the 1840s onwards and , after his death, examples of these were purchased for the Royal Academy Schools as examples.

Related Works: There is a large collection of life studies and other drawings by Mulready in the V&A Museum.

All objects in this group

Object details

Life drawing of a kneeling nude female seen from the back
William Mulready RA (1786 - 1863)
ca. 1800?
Object type
Brown laid paper
Royal Academy of Arts
Object number
Bequeathed by Gilbert Bakewell Stretton 1949


Black and white chalk

435 mm x 275 mm


(verso - black chalk only)

275 mm x 435 mm

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