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In July 1825 Wilkie set off for an extended visit to the continent, taking in Italy and Spain and even a visit to Delacroix in Paris. George IV acquired six paintings (RCINs 405861, 405091-4 and 405096) from Wilkie following his return to London in 1828. These paintings all depict picturesque life in Italy and Spain, in which faith plays a central part; this is one of four depicting the Spanish struggle against Napoleon’s invaders during the Peninsular War (1808-14). This was the age during which Spain was ‘discovered’ by writers and artists, as was the Italy of modern life as opposed ancient remains.
This watercolour is thought to be an early study for "The Spanish Posada" (RCIN 405094; signed and dated 'David Wilkie. Madrid 1828').
Descriptive Medium: 'Pencil, black chalk and watercolour', 'pencil, black chalk', 'watercolour painting'