Reclining female nude viewed from the back, c. 1850?
Unidentified British artist
RA Collection: Art
These life studies were formerly attributed to William Etty. However, it has been found that one of the sheets is watermarked 1850, a year after the artist's death, and although the studies resemble Etty's work in terms of the colouring, poses and general effect, they also differ from it in certain details. In particular, these studies are on paper whereas Etty preferred to use millboard. Also, the draughtsmanship displays a greater interest in anatomical correctness than would usually be evident in Etty's work.
The identity of the artist who painted these studies has not been discoverd but they are almost certainly the work of a British painter active during in the mid-19th century. The sheets were previously kept in a portfolio marked "Orchardson" and it is possible that they are by or connected with the Scottish painter William Quiller Orchardson. A large group of Orchardson's paintings, drawings and belongings were presented to the Royal Academy in 1916 by his widow, Lady Orchardson. It is possible that these studies were separated from the rest of the group at an early stage and mistaken for Etty's 'Academy studies'.
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