Portrait of Bishop Fisher, after HolbeinArtist:
, British, 1859 - 1929
Hans Holbein the younger
, German, 1497 - 1543
Material and Medium: chalk and watercolour on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 440 x 350mm
Support: 338 x 275mm
Accession Number: CGSG00761
Although Ruskin didn’t always approve of people copying the work of other artists, he did feel that copying was one of the best ways for artists to learn about particular techniques. He commissioned this copy from an original chalk work in the British Museum in London, which dates from the 1530s.
It relates particularly to Ruskin's book of practical drawing lessons, 'The Laws of Fésole'. In it, Ruskin mentions Holbein's technique and references Webling's copy as a study of them, explaining:
'An outline thus perfectly made, with absolute decision, and with a wash of one colour above it, is the most masterly of all methods of light and shade study… But without any wash of colour, such an outline is the most valuable of all means of obtaining such memoranda of any scene as may explain to another person, or record for yourself, what is most important in its features.'