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A Hussar Officer on Horseback

A Hussar Officer on Horseback


John Singleton Copley

(American, 1738-1815)

Black and white chalk

Support: Blue wove paper (faded)

Sheet: 27.6 x 22.1 cm (10 7/8 x 8 11/16 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 1950.216


Copley left Boston at the start of the American Revolution in 1775 and pursued the rest of his career in England, where he achieved distinction both as a portraitist and a history painter. In his drawings, following a method often employed in France, Copley generally used blue paper to serve as a middle tone. He could then quickly work up the image using black chalk to indicate outlines and shadows, and white chalk for highlights. He probably made this drawing as a study for one of the background figures in an equestrian portrait of King George III (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) executed between 1808 and 1810. Despite the wonderful quality of the drawing, he never used this figure of a cavalry officer in the portrait.

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