William Strutt was the first classically-trained British artist to pursue a career in Australia, where he worked between 1850 and 1862. He is celebrated for his dramatic history paintings and monumental depictions of colonial life.
According to the artist’s grand-daughter, he made this drawing when he was about thirteen. Strutt and his brother Joseph became pupils of the academic painter Michel-Martin Drolling (1786-1851) in Paris in 1838 and as part of their training drew from engravings, antique casts and life models. Apart from enrolling at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1839, where he received instruction from Paul Delaroche and Horace Vernet, Strutt remained with Drolling until 1843. He then took up an apprenticeship to Joseph-Nicolas Jouy 1843-44. This drawing may therefore have been made as late as 1843, when Strutt was 18 years of age. The drawing is of a Roman copy in marble of Apollo with a lizard, after the original Greek sculpture by Praxiteles c350BC, now in the Louvre, Paris.
black conté, wash on grey laid paper
61.8 x 47.2 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., pen and brown ink "By Wm Strutt/ Paris.". Not dated.
Gift of Mrs Margaret Strutt-Davies, the artist's grand-daughter 1990
Not on display
Shown in 3 exhibitions
Dreams and realities: Victorian works on paper, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 07 Aug 1993–24 Oct 1993
Sketches and studies 19th century English drawings from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 14 Nov 1997–02 Mar 1998
19th century Australian watercolours, drawings & pastels, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2005–24 Jul 2005
Referenced in 2 publications
Renée Free and Rose Peel, Dreams and realities: Victorian works on paper, Sydney, 1993, 11.
Hendrik Kolenberg, Anne Ryan and Patricia James, 19th century Australian watercolours, drawing and pastels from the Gallery's collection, Sydney, 2005, 50, 51 (colour illus.).