Drawn to Paint

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James Drummond

A Lady Descending from a Sedan Chair. Study for the Painting 'The Porteous Mob'
1855
Drummond designed this group to occupy a prominent foreground position in his great picture showing the mob execution of Captain Porteus. Drummond knew this group could reveal a subtle point of the story: some of the mob who carried out the execution were gentlemen in disguise, not merely coarse rioters. He was inspired by Walter Scott's account of the event in his novel 'Heart of Midlothian', which told how ladies in sedan chairs were turned away from the riot by members of the mob. One lady revealed that a man dressed as a baker had 'handed her out of her chair and took leave with a bow', displaying the manners of a well-bred gentleman. The faint outline of a figure on the right of this exceptionally precise drawing exhibits such manners, but Drummond dressed him in the more suitable disguise of a link-man (light-man).
  • Credits William Findlay Watson Bequest 1881
  • Medium Pencil with black and white chalk heightening on grey paper
  • Size 38.10 x 26.00 cm

Did you know?

In this drawing, Drummond included a wedding ring on the lady's finger, but removed it in the final painting. It is possible that he was trying to hint at a romantic attraction between the lady and the disguised rioter.