Sir David Wilkie

Background for the Painting for 'Pitlessie Fair' (Verso: Preliminary Studies for 'Pitlessie Fair' and a Study of Hands for a Self-portrait (PG 573)) (About 1804)

About this artwork

This is one of Wilkie’s preliminary drawings for the background of his 1804 painting ‘Pitlessie Fair’ (NG 1527). Here, Wilkie has mapped out the outlines of the buildings in Pitlessie. Without the people, animals and stalls of the finished painting, this drawing, which would have been made on the spot, shows much more clearly the appearance of the village at this time. In the top right of the sheet, Wilkie has noted the materials of the walls and roofs of the houses. On the other side of this sheet are further preliminary studies for the figures and animals.

  • title: Background for the Painting for 'Pitlessie Fair' (Verso: Preliminary Studies for 'Pitlessie Fair' and a Study of Hands for a Self-portrait (PG 573))
  • accession number: D 4893
  • artist: Sir David WilkieScottish (1785 - 1841)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: About 1804
  • measurements: 34.90 x 57.30 cm
  • credit line: Purchased 1964

Sir David Wilkie

Sir David Wilkie

Wilkie achieved international recognition for his highly original paintings of events and episodes from contemporary life. His skills as a narrator were evident in the facial expressions and poses of his characters, and in the informative detail he included. He was born in Fife, the son of a rural minister and began his formal artistic training at the Trustees' Academy in Edinburgh when he was fifteen. He then moved to London in 1805 and became a full member of the Royal Academy in 1811. He was appointed Painter to the King in 1830 and knighted in 1836.