George Romney

Study for the Shipwreck in "The Tempest"

c. 1786-1790
Ambitious to create grand historical compositions and frustrated by the confines of his successful career as a portrait painter, Romney welcomed the commission from Boydell to contribute a painting of this subject to the latter's Shakespeare Gallery. The artist compressed the first two scenes of the play into one huge canvas, for which this drawing is a preparatory study. On the left, young Ferdinand, with goggle eyes and outstretched arms, is about to plunge into the sea, while on the right, at the mouth of his cave, Prospero recounts the events to his frightened daughter Miranda.
Title
Study for the Shipwreck in "The Tempest"
Date
c. 1786-1790
Medium
Drawing
Materials
pen and grey ink with grey and black wash over graphite on laid paper, laid down on wove paper
Dimensions
47 x 68.3 cm
Nationality
British
Credit line
Purchased 1949
Accession number
5581