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British, Irish & Scottish Drawings

Britain, Ireland, and Scotland have storied and distinctive drawing traditions that span back centuries and carry on today as all three of these United Kingdom countries continue to produce first-rate contemporary drawings. Many of the most esteemed artists of the 18th and 19th centuries, including J.M.W. Turner, Frederick Laighton, and Thomas Gainsbourough hailed from the United Kingdom.

While these artists are perhaps best known as painters, they also produced many excellent drawings during their careers. Turner, widely acclaimed for his paintings, was also an innovative and highly prolific draftsman. He produced tens of thousands of sketches over the course of his career, the majority of which can now be found in the Tate Museum in London.

The English artist Francis Place produced a number of drawings depicting various scenic views throughout Dublin from 1792 to 1799. During the mid-18th century, William Evons of Eton produced a portfolio of more than forty topographical views, which documented not only breathtaking landscapes of Ireland at the time but also the devastating poverty experienced throughout the nation in the years leading up to the potato famine.

Contemporary artists carry on this region’s rich legacy, producing compelling and important works through drawing. The United Kingdom's notable contemporary drawing artists include Anna Barriball from England and Anita Groener from Ireland.

Quick Facts

  • During the 18th century, the pastel portraits of Irish artist Hugh Douglas Hamilton are considered by many to be commensurate in artistic talent to any of his European peers
  • Douglas was best known for his portraits of royalty, celebrities, and politicians of his day. He was inundated with commission requests, including requests from the British Royal family
  • In May 2012, the Tate Museum presented an exhibition entitled "Focus: Slow Looking: Contemporary Drawing" which featured the work of British artists David Musgrave and Peter Peri, among others

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