This is a fine little pen and ink composition by the famed Scottish artist, Sir Joseph Noel Paton (1821 - 1901). His stunning fairy paintings illustrate scenes from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer's Nights Dream" and are in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland.
Paton was not only a renowned artist - but also an illustrator and sculptor. He was a poet and had a passionate interest in Scottish folklore and Celtic legends.
This work is a small pen and ink study for an engraving. It is a very subtle and sensitive sketch - with each outline carefully delineated for the engraver to copy onto a plate for publication.
My study is unsigned (which is often the case with these working drawings) - but most definitely an original illustration by Paton - and consistent with a large group of similarly rendered studies in the Prints and Drawings Collection at the National Gallery of Scotland.
It is drawn to the scale of the actual printing plate - which would have been included in a folio publication featuring a series of related engravings by Noel Paton illustrating the text.
I have been unable to identify the literary subject here - but it looks like a medieval episode or Romantic historical story. Paton did lots of illustrations to Shakespeare in this style - but I don't think that this is a Shakespearian one.
The study must date to the late 1840s or early 1850s - when Paton's looser earlier style became much tighter and influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites. Paton was a friend of John Everett Millais and had been invited to join The Brotherhood. Paton declined formal membership but remained sympathetic to their tenets.
Here, Paton shows the Royal Court standing outside of a Palace or Castle - the beautiful ladies of the court watch on as three muscular men try to raise a large heavy stone or monolith. They all seem concerned that the stone may topple over and each holds out a hand in a gesture of concern.
The study is lightly drawn in light brown ink with a fine-tipped dip pen. If you look at the sheet carefully - then you can see some very faint remnants of pencil underdrawing.
Dimensions: Image size is 14.5 X 23.5 cm. The frame size is 26.5 x 35.5 cm
The drawing has been recently reframed for sale - and is in excellent condition ready for you to just hang on your wall. These types of drawings by Noel Paton do not come on that market that often as most of them remain with the family or are now in gallery / specialist collections.
It is fairly priced.
It will be sent to UK addresses with Royal Mail Special Next Day Delivery - this will be charged at £10 at checkout.