one of many sketches and figure studies executed by George Romney (1734-1802) on the subject of the great social and penal reformer, John Howard (1726-1790), who spent years visiting prisons and plague hospitals (lazarettos), tirelessly campaigning for the more humane treatment of their inmates. The subject lent itself perfectly to such mannerist depictions of the tortured human form.
Provenance: the collection of Alfred de Pass, presented to the Royal Institution of Cornwall, Truro, 1914-1935; Christie’s sale, London, 22nd February, 1966, lot 22. A note on the mount states this numbered sheet was extracted from an album of sketches and notes, the cover of which had been inscribed ‘March 1790’.
study in pencil on laid paper with a partial watermark of Britannia in a double circle with a bell suspended below, sheet numbered ’69’ in upper right corner 150 x 190 mm. (6 x 7 1/2 in), hinged into mount bearing later annotations.