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Sketchbook: British Isles

William Trost Richards

American Art

In continual search of dramatic coastal topography, Richards embarked on another tour abroad in the summer of 1891 that included an expedition to the remote reaches of northern Ireland. The Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim is a remarkable geological formation of faceted volcanic rock (basalt) eroded over the ages by the action of wind, rain, and waves into huge, mostly hexagonal, columns that form a natural stairway from a cliff into the sea. Local legend attributed the site to the Irish giant Finn McCool, said to have wanted to walk to Scotland without wetting his feet. The more prosaic lava-flow explanation was put forward in 1771.
MEDIUM Graphite on white paper
DATES 1891
DIMENSIONS 4 3/4 x 7 1/2 in. (85 pages)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS See description
CREDIT LINE Gift of Edith Ballinger Price
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Sketchbook of 99 pages of landscape scenes in the British Isles. p1 Lightly sketched panorama of coast p2 blank p2 verso - p3 Sketch of coast. Inscribed at lower center of p3, "The White Rodes. / Port [Rush?] / Sept 10/91" p4 Sketch of rocks on a coast. Inscribed lower center, "Port Rush Sept 10.91" p5 Sketch of rocks on a coast. Inscribed lower left, "Port rush / Sept 10' 91" p6 Rocks p7 outline of rocks and buildings atop rocky hill? p8 outline of buildings atop rocky hill p8 verso outline of buildings (same as pp 7 and 8) p9 a single line p10 outline of bulidings atop rocky hill p10 verso, Sketch of coastal scene, inscribed lower left "Giants Causway / Sept 11. 91 / [Rovinhead?] p11 verso - 12 Pages mostly smudged. Rocky coast, inscribed on p 12, lower right "Giants Causeway / [illegible] / Sept 11.91" p12 verso Rocky coast, inscribed lower left "Chimney point / Giants Causeway / Sept 11/91" p13 verso, Rocky coast, inscribed lower left, "light grey ->" p14 verso, Rocky coast, inscribed lower left, "[Fran?] / Pleaskin / Giants Causeway / Sept 10/91" p15 verso, Loose sketch of rocks/coast? p16 oriented vertically, rocky coast, inscribed at lower right "Green" and vertically across right side "Pleaskin Giants Causeway -" p17 rocky coast p18 loose sketch, rocky coast? p18 verso, rocky coast p20 blank p20 verso, study of rocks on coastal cliff p21 verso - 22, Panorama of rocky coast, inscribed lower left of p21 verso, "Giants Causeway / Sept 11.91." p23 Rocky coast, Inscribed lower right, "Chimney Point / Giants Causeway / Sept 11.91" p24 loose sketch of rocky coast p24 verso, loose sketch of coast line, possibly a boat on the water. Inscription within drawing is scribbled, possibly "[Causeway?]" p25 Rocky coast, inscribed lower left, "amphitheatre / Sept 11.91"; inscription at far right is scribbled, possibly "[Cause?]" as in Causeway? p26 sketch of rocky landscape p27 loose sketch of cliff p28 rocky coastline p29 Loose sketch of rocky coast, inscribed lower left, "Sept 11, 1891 / Sea gull rock-" p30 Rocky coast, inscribed lower left, "Giants Causeway / Sept 12' 1891" p31 Rocky coast, inscribed lower right, "Giants Causeway Sept 12" p32 loose sketch of rocky cliffs, inscribed lower center, "[???swick] Sept 12" p32 verso - 33 Rocky coast, inscribed lower center, "[Carrick a rede?] / Sept 12/91" p34 Loose sketch of rocky coastline p34 verso, rocky coastline. p35 rocky coastline p35 verso - 36, Seascape, view of waves from coast. Inscribed lower left of p36, "[Strand?] at / Ballycastle / [illegible] / Sept 12.91" p37 Loose sketch of rocky coastline p38 Coastline/cliffs, inscribed lower right , "[Fairhead?] [Antran?] / Sept 13' 1891" p38 verso, waves and coastline, inscribed upper left, "Ballycastle / Sept 14.91" p39 blank p39 verso, waves p40 loose sketch of cliff p41 cliff/coast, inscribed upper right, "Fairhead / Sept 13.91" p42 Coast scene, with cliffs and a house p43 blank p44 linear sketch of coast and hills, illegible inscription p45 Loose sketch of horizon with sun p46 Shoreline, waves p47 partial sketch of waves p48 blank p49 seascape p50 seascape with rocky coast p51 seascape p52 in ink, seascape; small framed vignette at upper right of similar subject p53 oriented vertically, seascape p54 loose, incomplete sketch p55 loose sketch of horizon line and clouds p56 seascape, clouds p57 loose sketch of horizon line, seascape, clouds p58 seascape, rocky cliffs [page 59 excised] p60 seascape, with waves crashing against a rock p61 seascape p62 seascape with rock p63-87 blank p87 verso, upside down, loose sketch of mountains [p88 and 89 excised] p90 Inscribed in ink at lower left with numerical calculations "4000 / 1500 / 2500"; and inscribed in graphite at upper right, "NF" p90 verso, loose sketch of boat sails p91 blank p92 loose sketch of coastline p93 loose sketch of rocky cliff/coast p94 loose sketch of rocky cliff/coast p94 verso, loose sketch of rocky cliff with buildings? p95 rocky cliff with buildings p96 mountainous scene with buildings and bridge. p97 oriented vertically, loose sketch of castle on cliff p98 loose sketch of coast p98 verso, sketch of coast (same location as p98 recto) p99 blank
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION William Trost Richards (American, 1833-1905). Sketchbook: British Isles, 1891. Graphite on white paper, 4 3/4 x 7 1/2 in. (85 pages). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Edith Ballinger Price, 1993.225.5 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1993.225.5.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1993.225.5.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2004
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