Tag Archives: National Gallery

Figures in Paintings

Pissarro (left) and Monet

Two from Turner

Bellotto (left) and Canaletto

I often draw in the National Gallery and last week I spent some time studying figures from several different painters. These are some of the sketches I made of incidental figures. All of these figures, although not the main focus of the paintings, have a vital role to play. They add life and scale to the scene. Since the eighteenth century they have been known as staffage.

Below are some examples from my own work.

Above left: Little Boltons (detail). Above right: Pall Mall (detail)

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A day of drawing


Yesterday I visited Room A at the National Gallery.  This little known room is rarely visited as it is only open for a few hours each Wednesday afternoon.  It houses around 800 pictures.  I was there to see the gallery’s collection of works by Eugène Boudin.  I made sketches of several of them – the one shown here is a beach scene at Trouville.

In the evening I visited the historic Life Room at the Royal Academy, for two hours of  drawing from the model with the New English Art Club Drawing School.

Next time you are in London on a Wednesday you know what to do.

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