John Singleton Copley: Studies for Saul Reproved by Samuel in Not Obeying the Commandments of the Lord

John Singleton Copley regularly made preparatory drawings for his complex, multifigural paintings in the Grand Manner. This double-sided sheet of figure studies provides a fascinating glimpse into Copley’s creative process as he experimented with poses and costumes for a biblical narrative depicting a dramatic encounter between the prophet Samuel and King Saul. The two highly finished sketches of Samuel’s voluminous drapery are particularly finely modeled with deft strokes of black chalk and highlights of white.