Study for "The Peep-O’-Day Boys’ Cabin, in the West of Ireland" ("The Sleeping Whiteboy")

Study for "The Peep-O’-Day Boys’ Cabin, in the West of Ireland" ("The Sleeping Whiteboy")


David Wilkie

(British, 1785-1841)

Watercolor, point of brush, and gouache with graphite and brown ink

Support: Beige wove paper

Sheet: 23.4 x 21.9 cm (9 3/16 x 8 5/8 in.)

Gift of Robert Hays Gries 1941.606


Fun Fact

The painting to which this drawing relates was purchased by the prominent collector Robert Vernon and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836.


One of the greatest draftsmen of the British school, Sir David Wilkie painted slowly but drew prolifically, making studies upon which he relied to spur his imagination and compose his paintings. In this study for a painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836, the artist worked out the details of a domestic interior. Here he depicted the corner of a cabin in Ireland where wool was processed: a pair of carders used to disentangle textile fibers and a spinning wheel rest upon a rough-hewn bench, and a swath of hand-dyed red cloth is flung over a ladder rung.

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