George Morland (British, 1763–1804)
Three studies of heads of Cotswold sheep
Signed l.r.: George Morland, pencil, on paper watermarked J WHATMAN 46.1 x 30 cm; 18 x 11¾ inches
Provenance: Andrew Wyld, London; The Flannery collection, UK, and by descent until 2018.
Engraved: As a sheet from sketchbook IX, in crayon-manner (probably by John Harris), published in London by John Harris, 28 Gerrard Street, Soho, 1 September 1794 (50.5 x 34.5 cm; 19⅞ x 13⅝ inches).
Morland published sketchbooks which were intended to instruct beginners in drawing, and he made sketches especially for this purpose. They were very popular and many were published as soft-ground etchings from 1792 to 1807, originally as four large folio sheets between blue paper covers. He collaborated with John Harris on sketchbooks I–XVII between 1792 and 1795.
Unauthorised sketchbooks then began to be published, to Morland’s irritation, some using drawings he had not approved for publication, others with drawings in his style or after his work. He resorted to publishing denouncements of the rogue works in The Times and other newspapers.
For a detailed account of prints after Morland, see Francis Buckley, ‘George Morland’s Sketch Books and their Publishers’.1
1. Manuscript copy with pasted printed leaflet in the Prints & Drawings library of the British Museum: 1932.0311.42.