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Sir David Wilkie RA, Study for 'Reading the News'
Sir David Wilkie RA, Study for 'Reading the News'

Study for 'Reading the News', c. 1821

Sir David Wilkie RA (1785 - 1841)

RA Collection: Art

A study for 'Reading the News' or 'The Newsmongers'(1821), depicting an old man seated on the right reading from a newspaper with a crowd of women and children around him. On the left is a baker, balancing a tray of newly baked bread on his head, and a small child seen from the back carrying a hoop.

Wilkie also used the motif of a figure reading the news to a crowd in his famous canvas 'Chelsea Pensioners Reading the Gazette of the Battle of Waterloo' (1818-22, Apsley House). Allan Cunningham, Wilkie's biographer, noted that the artist worked on both compositions at the same time. He wrote: 'The Newsmongers...was painted for the late General Phipps ...The leading personage is a baker, who has stopped to hear the news read aloud from a newspaper, - quite unconscious that the one o'clock joints, which he carries on his head, are cooling through his curiosity. The air of reality which pervades the whole cannot fail to recall to many recollections of scenes observed in actual life which require little to bring back to memory. This, too, was one of those hasty, and certainly happy things, which supplied the artist with the necessaries of life, and kept, as we of the North word it, reek at the lum-head'.

Object details

Study for 'Reading the News'
Sir David Wilkie RA (1785 - 1841)
c. 1821
Object type
Pencil on cream wove paper

71 mm x 75 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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