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Sketchbook / Scrapbook: Views of England and Studies of Drapery

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Sketchbook / Scrapbook: Views of England and Studies of Drapery

Artist: Henry F. Darby (American, 1829 - 1897)

Date: n.d.a.
Medium: Graphite, ink, metallic pigments, and possibly silverpoint on cream-colored paper and tracing paper
Overall: 6 3/8 × 9 1/4in. (16.2 × 23.5cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Ann Verplanck Durland, Great-Granddaughter of Henry Darby in Memory of Edward F. Verplanck, Grandson of the Artist.
Object number: 2004.26.4
Label Text
Because the couple that built Fountain Elms, James W. and Helen E. M. Williams, were important patrons of artist Henry Darby, the Museum has a large collection of the paintings and drawings he executed for them during the middle decades of the nineteenth century. However, the existence of this sketchbook was unknown until a descendant of the artist donated it to the Museum four years ago.

On the pages of this sketchbook are landscape scenes and figure studies, as well as copies of other paintings and sculpture, stone rubbings, numerous drapery studies, and six pages of carefully executed decorative details copied from Medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts.

The source Darby copied when he made this page is indicated by a graphite inscription in the upper right corner: "Bestiarium 1200 / Bodl." This helpful clue refers to a famous twelfth century English-made bestiary now in the collection of the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford.

Bestiaries were a popular form of secular literature in Medieval Europe. Such handmade books contained illustrated allegorical fables about real or imaginary animals. The Bodlian bestiary, one of the finest examples of its kind, is renowned for its richly embellished pages ornamented in gold leaf, and its depictions of a wide range of animals, plants, and human beings.

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