The Last Sleep, c. 1859. Oil ketch.

Commentary by Anthea Brooke

This oil sketch is after an etching now in the Tate Gallery, which is No. 2 in a series of etchings collected by Smetham under the title Studies from an Artist's Sketchbook published by subscription. The date of publication is presumably before or around 1859 when Ruskin wrote to Smetham: "I think the last (The Last Sleep) very beautiful indeed, and is quite a lesson in etching to me now, which I very much wanted." Smetham, however, was dissatisfied with the results, and somehow gathered sufficient subscriptions to paint the series as small oil sketches, changing three guineas for each sketch.

References

Brooke, Anthea. Victorian Painting. Catalogue for exhibition November-December 1977. London: Fine Art Society, 1977. No. 19.

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