Comparison between Copley's painting and drawing

Preliminary drawings indicate that the standing black sailor at the apex of the triangular group was originally conceived as a white sailor with long flowing hair.

Left: John Singleton Copley, Watson and the Shark (detail), 1778. National Gallery of Art, Ferdinand Lammot Belin Fund 1963.6.1 Right: John Singleton Copley, Rescue Group (detail) , middle 18th/early 19th century, black chalk heightened with white, squared for transfer in red chalk, The Detroit Institute of Fine Arts, City of Detroit Purchase. Photograph © The Detroit Institute of Fine Arts 1994

 

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