Watercolour, ink and wash on paper, laid down on board. Signed with monogram and dated 1870 lower right. The image measures 50 x 35 cm. Thin strips of toning to the edges otherwise in fine and bright original condition.
This beautifully whimsical painting depicts young girls combing the beards of countless billy goats amidst an idyll of rolling hills. In typical Doyle style, this meticulously executed work is full of charming details; some of the maidens sport floral garlands while one in the bottom right corner wears a crown, suggesting that she is a princess, and far in the distance another girl runs after an escaped goat. Created in the same year that Doyle's masterpiece In Fairyland was published, this painting shares the hazy colours, fine brushwork, and dispersed composition commonly seen in that famous work. Richard Doyle was one of the most popular illustrators of his time. Possessing a healthy dose of both humour and fantastical sensibility, he first made a name for himself illustrating Punch magazine and then found great success turning his hand to classic and contemporary fairy tales such as Grimm's Tales and John Ruskin's The King of the Golden River. Provenance: Christie's, London (South Kensington) October 25, 1982, lot 150; private collection.
Stock code: 21615