One early proponent of Sight-Size was Scottish painter Sir Henry Raeburn. The most extensive biography on Raeburn is Edward Pinnington’s, Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A. Written in 1904, it is still the most often quoted when it comes to writing about Raeburn’s painting technique.
Sight-Size Artists of the Past
Many artists who are no longer with us used Sight-Size. These articles show photographs and contemporaneous accounts of those past Sight-Size artists.
Sickert’s instructions for how to go about drawing the figure, attributed to Lord Leighton, are textbook Sight-Size. True enough, putting your easel eighteen feet away from the model and then standing an arm’s length away from it, results a seven to ten inch figure.
Gilbert Stuart was one of America’s great portrait painters. This self portrait was done while Stuart was in England, studying with another American ex-patriot painter, Benjamin West.
Sir Gerald Festus Kelly was born in London in 1879. He was educated at Eton College and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. In 1901, Gerald’s father, the Vicar of Camberwell, sent him to France to study painting.
Emma Nessi studied privately with Cesare Tallone, at the Brera Academy, around 1906. Not much is known about her, in English anyway, and I’d be grateful to learn of any images of her paintings, or other information.
Philip Alexius de László was an Hungarian artist, born in 1869. Although he began his career as an historical painter, he is best known for his portraiture of early twentieth-century English and American socialites. He had a bravura style of brushwork which fit well with his contemporaries (and competition), Sargent, Sorolla and Zorn.
Cesare Tallone studied at the Brera Academy in Milan, between 1872 and 1880. He was most well known for his portraits and he had a working friendship with Antonio Mancini.
At age 16, Charles Wellington Furse, ARA (1868-1904) became a student of Alphonse Legros at the Slade school, London. Later, he attended the Académie Julian in Paris. He was a painter of portraits and figure subjects, lecturer and writer on art.
Early on Bonnat studied in Madrid and he maintained a lifelong admiration for the Spanish artists Ribera and Velazquez. This admiration seems to have driven his approach to painting and teaching. In a preface for a biography on Velazquez he claimed that what Velazquez “sought before everything was character and truth.”