About this artwork

Wilkie used initial pen and ink sketches like this one to plan the overall composition and proportions of his finished painting (NG 1890). In this drawing he works out the distance between the two figures, the direction of their glances and the subtle actions of their hands and feet. Even without much of the final detail, the characters’ postures, hands and gestures, convey the uneasy atmosphere of the scene. In the final painted version, Wilkie changed the position of the dog, turning its head so that it sniffs in suspicion at the visitor.

Sir David Wilkie

Sir David Wilkie