Europe from 1200 to the present day
A Seated Man Holding a Drawing Tablet on His Knee, Fra Bartolommeo (Baccio della Porte), about 1515. Museum no. Dyce 177
A Seated Man Holding a Drawing Tablet on His Knee
Fra Bartolommeo (Baccio della Porte) (1472-1517)
Black chalk on laid paper tinted pink
Width 13 cm x height 20.6 cm
Museum no. Dyce 177
The man represented is holding a drawing tablet, the most common surface on which drawings were made before paper became plentiful.
Portrait of an Artist Drawing, Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri), about 1610-1660. Museum no. D.988-1900
Portrait of an Artist Drawing
Guercino (Giovanni Francesco Barbieri) (1591-1666)
Ink on laid paper
Width 18 cm x height 22.2 cm
Museum no. D.988-1900
The artist is drawing a landscape with a quill pen. Do you think the picture on the easel is a drawing or is it depicting a painting in line?
Pupils Drawing from Casts in a Painter's Workshop, Odoardo Fialetti, 1608. Museum no. E.215-1964
Pupils Drawing from Casts in a Painter's Workshop
Odoardo Fialetti (1573-1638)
Published by Justus Sadeler 1608
Width 15.6 cm x height 11.1 cm
Museum no. E.215-1964
This print demonstrates that communal drawing played a significant part in the life of apprentice painters in the 17th century.
Dr Syntax Sketching a Waterfall, Thomas Rowlandson, about 1800. Museum no. Dyce 813
Dr Syntax Sketching a Waterfall
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827)
Ink and water-colour on wove paper
Width 22 cm x height 13 cm
Museum no. Dyce 813
Dr Syntax, an amateur artist and connoisseur, was invented by Rowlandson as the subject of his The Tour of Dr Syntax, in Search of the Picturesque, published with a text by William Combe in Ackermann's Poetical Magazine from 1809. Here Dr Syntax is shown sketching a waterfall, a satire on the many amateurs of drawing who went sketchbook in hand in search of the fashionable picturesque.
A Woman Sketching a Child with the Aid of a Camera Lucida, Henry Moses, about 1825. Museum no. E.8-1946
A Woman Sketching a Child with the Aid of a Camera Lucida
Henry Moses (about 1782-1870)
Pencil and chalk on wove paper
Width 10.8 cm x height 7.5 cm
Museum no. E.8-1946
Drawing was a regular activity of accomplished men and women in 18th and 19th century Britain and gadgets were invented to help them. The woman in this picture is shown drawing with the aid of a camera lucida, patented in 1807. It reflected a reduced transparent image of the scene to be depicted on the paper. The child being depicted is being held still to allow the woman to sketch in the outlines.
The Summer Class at Shoreham, Franklin White, about 1930. Museum no. E.564-1980
The Summer Class at Shoreham
Franklin White (1892-1975)
Red chalk and ink on wove paper
Width 37.5 cm x height 27.5 cm
Museum no. E.564-1980
The scene shows students at the Samuel Palmer School of Art. The absence of painting equipment suggests that the women are sketching rather than painting the scene before them.