Emanuel von Baeyer

Study of Hands

William Allan
1782 – Edinburgh – 1850

Black and red chalk over graphite and heightened in white. Size of sheet: 25.2 x 18.1 cm. With the artist’s monogram stamped verso.

PROVENANCE: Christopher Powney, London, 1970s.

A fine sheet with four studies of hands, including a hand holding a drawing pen. Finely executed in the same technique as the sheet containing a portrait of Edward Irving and a hand study.(1)

The Scottish painter William Allan visited Russia in 1805 and stayed there until 1814. He travelled extensively in the region, and also visited Italy, Turkey, Greece, Spain and Morocco. He was elected President of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1835. His œuvre largely consists of Russian and Scottish historical scenes and can be seen in various museums and galleries in Russia, Scotland and England.(2)

He was inspired by the drawing technique of Antoine Watteau (1684 – 1721). His French patron, Auguste Comte de Lagarde, described him as ‘Our Scottish Raphael’. (3)

1. British Museum. BM 1871.1209.6271.
2. Jermey Howard. William Allan: artist adventure, Edinburgh, 2001.
3. Auguste Comte de Lagarde in Voyage de Moscou à Vienne, Paris & Strasbourg, Paris, 1824.