Woman Standing among the Friars (recto) Sketches of Heads (verso, left); Two Women (verso, right)

Woman Standing among the Friars (recto) Sketches of Heads (verso, left); Two Women (verso, right)

c. 1770-1775

Part of a set. See all set records

John Brown

(British, 1752-1787)

Graphite and gray and black wash with point of brush

Image: 25.8 x 36.9 cm (10 3/16 x 14 1/2 in.)

Dudley P. Allen Fund 1969.28



A beguiling artist with a brief career, Brown is known for a small group of monochromatic drawings imbued with sinister overtones. At the age of 20, the Scottish artist traveled to Italy where he spent the next 12 years. This drawing exemplifies his Roman street scenes which often depict women dressed in spectacular, billowing costumes. Here, a coquette with bare ankles and plunging décolletage is surrounded by a crowd of vulgar types who leer, ogle, judge, and scorn. The reverse of the sketchbook sheet includes two independent drawings: a study of faces in fierce and intense expressions, and a pair of women wearing swirling gowns. One figure raises her hand in a mysterious gesture that casts a shadow on her throat resembling a claw. Whether the viewer is being beckoned or forewarned remains a mystery.

See also
DR - British
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Dudley P. Allen Fund

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.