Etty’s Orange


Detail from “Oil sketch of a lady in an interior”
Oil on board

William Etty (1787-1849) the renowned British painter of nudes was also a portrait painter of some talent. He studied for a period under the great Thomas Lawrence and the influence of Lawrence is clear in his work. Lawrence often placed his subjects in front of a coloured background. In many Lawrence portraits the background is a rich red. Etty however, perhaps in an attempt to distinguish himself from Lawrence, tends to favour a orange or orange/red/brown mix. Orange in art although common in small details is rare in large blocks. Not until a century later would we see the orange of Bacon or Rothko. Etty’s orange is therefore both unusual and ahead of its time, really it should have a name…

Details below from Etty and Lawrence paintings



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