Watercolour over pen and brown ink. Size of sheet: 25.6 × 17 cm.
Signed in brown pen W. B. Richmond. Framed in a period carved and gilded Pre-Raphaelite frame of outstanding quality.
William Blake Richmond was the son of the painter George Richmond and was named after the poet William Blake, who was very close to his father. The artist studied at the Royal Academy Schools, with Simeon Solomon among his fellow students. His success as a portrait painter allowed him to visit Italy several times to study Renaissance art.1 There he befriended Sir Frederic Leighton and became his protégé.
In 1864, Richmond married his first wife Charlotte Foster, who tragically died only a year later. A comparable watercolour of a self-portrait painted in 1863 by the artist was acquired recently by the Metropolitan Museum (Inv.2016.588). Very few portraits of his wife exist. A pencil drawing from the same year, dated May 13 1863, emerged on the London art market in 2011.2
1 Morgan, Burne Jones, p. 123.
2 Bonhams Sale, British and Continental Pictures, London, 21 Jun 2011, lot.319.