David Wilkie

Scotland, b.1785, d.1841

The Sedan Chair

  • c. 1817
  • Etching, drypoint
  • Ngarita Charlotte Hounam Johnstone bequest, 2022
  • 200 x 178mm
  • 2022/157

Scottish artist David Wilkie was known as an accurate and affectionate observer of everyday life. There’s a strong sense of narrative in the scene shown here, where two young boys kneel down and clasp hands to improvise a seat for another. Wearing his large, feathered hat at a rakish angle, he tests the ‘chair’ first with his hands, maybe reluctant to trust its strength or the motives of his companions. A spaniel looks on with an expression of forbearance – it has, perhaps, seen all this before.

Ship Nails and Tail Feathers, 10 June – 22 October 2023

Compare British Museum number 1923,0228.33

Exhibition History