Lot 9. An anatomical study of five human skulls on a table with a book and a skeleton behind, English School, 1845; with inscription ‘J. Constable/ 1845’ (lower right) and inscribed ‘To Dr. Shaw with J.M. Constable's compts’ (lower left), pencil, pen and brown ink and watercolour on paper, 93⁄4 x 131⁄2 in. (25 x 34.5 cm.)l. Estimate: GBP 1,500 - GBP 2,500 (USD 1,008 - USD 1,512). © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.
Plate I of the Essays shows an engraving which is a variant of this watercolour. The book illustration is an etching after an anatomical drawing by Sir Charles Bell produced in the early 19th century. It has only four skulls and shows no skeleton in the background. The watercolour shows five skulls and the skeleton behind. As it is dated 1845, it was possibly the gift of a Scottish anatomical artist to Shaw and Bell’s widow in remembrance of a friend, Sir Charles Bell.
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