• D
  • Nathaniel Dance
Portrait of Angelica Kauffmann

Reference URL

Portrait of Angelica Kauffmann about 1764 - 1766
Kauffman was a successful history and portrait painter and one of only two women on the founding committee of the Royal Academy of Arts. This drawing was attributed to Kauffman herself when it was bequeathed to the Scottish National Gallery but the attribution was changed to Dance shortly afterwards. There is nothing like it in his surviving work, but it has clearly been drawn by someone who greatly admires the sitter. It may have been drawn around 1764-6 while sitter and subject were in Rome. She stares at a blank sheet with the waiting porte-crayon in front of her. Rejecting the copy she has just made, Kauffman searches for inspiration from her imagination and learning - in order to elevate her art from simple imitation (of the anatomical figure on the table), to invention.

Glossary Open


The act of establishing a particular person as the creator of a work of art.

History painting

Paintings in which the subject is taken from biblical, classical or other mythological histories.

Porte crayon

An instrument made of wood or metal, used to hold a drawing tool such as crayon, pastel or chalk.

Royal Academy

An independent institution founded in 1768 with Sir Joshua Reynolds as its first president. It is governed by the Royal Academicians - leading painters, sculptors, printmakers and architects, which number no more than 80 at one time. It organises exhibitions at its London galleries, including an annual Summer Exhibition.

Attribution, History painting, Porte crayon, Royal Academy


  • Acc. No. D 4772
  • Medium Watercolour on paper
  • Size 13.20 x 11.40 cm
  • Credit Lady Sybil Grant Bequest 1956