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John Copley

1875 - 1950

The Sick King by John Copley

The Sick King   1914

  Original lithograph.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Wright 105
S 410 x 405 mm; I 330 x 330 mm
Original John Copley lithograph.

Outstanding proof impression accompanied by a letter from John Copley in which he states “this proof seems to me to be the finest existing of its subject”.

An essentially figurative artist, dogged by ill health throughout most of his life, John Copley could express genuine empathy with this subject of The Sick King. Never a slave to fashion, he maintained an individual integrity in his work which is especially evident in the gravity and strength achieved through this powerful composition with its religious overtones. In particular, this image reflects the overwhelming influence of John Copley’s great mentor and friend, Ford Madox Brown. Copley repeated this composition many years later in his large watercolour and gouache painting of the same title, first exhibited and purchased for the permanent collection of the Royal Scottish Academy in 1933.

This particular proof was sold by the artist to one Captain Newman through the good offices of E.S. Lumsden and is accompanied by a letter from John Copley signed and dated July 24, 1933. As Lumsden was head of the Royal Scottish Academy at this time, the sale of this outstanding proof was clearly generated by the exhibition of the painting that year.

This subject was chosen for illustration in the leading article on the lithographs of John Copley by R.A. Walker in The Print Collector’s Quaterly of October 1926 (p.282). The total published edition of this lithograph was 25 proofs.

On fine simile-Japan paper with full margins and deckle edge. Some minor foxing and discolouration in outer margins of sheet, evidence of previous mounting at top and bottom edges of sheet, otherwise generally very good original condition.