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Pen and Ink Drawing - The Long Engagement - Compositional Sketches / Sketch of Two Figures

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1959P10
Collection:Fine Art Prints and Drawings
Date:1858c - 1858c

Maker Information

Artist:Arthur Hughes - View biography for Arthur Hughes


The compositional development of 'The Long Engagement' is a long story, revealing much about the hesitant and scrupulous nature of its artist. On a visit to Rossetti's studio on 13 March 1854, G.P. Boyce noted, 'A young man of the name of Hughes was painting a picture of Orlando inscribing his mistress' name on a tree. Parts nicely painted.'

Having apparently reversed the composition (with the tree on the left), in August 1854 Hughes painted a detailed background of wild roses in the open air.

Dissatisfied with the figure of Orlando and with the Shakespearian subject, Hughes wiped it out and at a later date began to devise a two-figure composition of 'modern lovers'. The three sketches on this sheet show Hughes trying to work out the composition of the two figures.

Presented by Charles Alexander Munro, 1959.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Pen and brown ink on paper, arched top.


Height:181 mm
Width:111 mm