'An angel sheathing a sword with St Roch and St Sebastian' (c. 1742-3)
Accession No: WAG1995.233
The drawing was copied from one by Guercino, which he produced in 1632-34 as a study for a now lost altarpiece for the church at Nonantola, near Cento. Both St Sebastian and the kneeling St Roch were believed to protect against the plague and the altarpiece was probably commissioned in thanks for the town’s reprieve from the disease in 1630. As the initials of the British portrait painter Thomas Hudson (1701-1779) are on the drawing it has been suggested that the copy was produced by Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), when he was Hudson’s pupil in about 1742-3. Reynolds went on to promote admiration for Guercino’s drawings through his lectures as the first President of the Royal Academy from 1768. The drawing also once belonged to William Roscoe and was bought in 1995 as part of the Weld-Blundell collection of old master drawings with the help of the Art Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Sir Denis Mahon and British Nuclear Fuels.