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Drawing - Raphael Cartoons
  • Raphael Cartoons
    Thornhill, James Sir, born 1675 - died 1734
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Raphael Cartoons

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (Hampton Court?, made)

  • Date:

    1729-1731 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Thornhill, James Sir, born 1675 - died 1734 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pen and ink and wash on paper, some pencil

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case SH, shelf 1

The so-called Raphael Cartoons, of which this drawing was taken, are seven full size designs for tapestries by the great Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520). They illustrate passages from the Bible concerning the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. None of them is smaller than ten feet high by thirteen feet wide. They belong to Her Majesty the Queen and have been on loan to this museum since 1865. The earliest print relating to the Raphael Cartoons dates from 1516, the year in which Raphael received final payment for the commission. It inaugurates an extraordinary case study in the history of printmaking, stretching over more than four hundred and fifty years and across a wide range of printmaking techniques.

Sir James Thornhill spent three years at Hampton Court preparing painted copies of the Cartoons. These are sketches in some way connected with the project. One carries an inscription in the artist's handwriting 'This boy Dorigny has omitted in his Print.' This seems to refer to a putto carved on the furthest of the three columns, behind the woman carrying a basket on her head in 'The Healing of the Lame Man'. From this inscription we learn that although Thornhill was studying the Cartoons themselves over an extended period, in order to make painted copies, he was also carefully comparing Dorigny's engravings to the Cartoons.

Physical description

Detail of feet, on wearing a shoe, in green wash and brown ink. From Death of Ananias.

Place of Origin

England (Hampton Court?, made)


1729-1731 (made)


Thornhill, James Sir, born 1675 - died 1734 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pen and ink and wash on paper, some pencil


Height: 18.4 cm sheet, approx, Width: 11.5 cm sheet, approx, Height: 40.9 cm mounted in volume, size, Width: 30 cm mounted in volume, size

Descriptive line

Drawing in pen ink and wash by Sir James Thornhill of details copied from the Raphael Cartoons, pasted into a volume; British, 1729-1731

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pilkington's Dictionary of Painters, 1824.
Miller, Liz. 'From Marcantonio Raimondi to the Postcard: Prints of the Raphael Cartoons'. Display leaflet, 1995.
Lambert, Susan. Drawing: Technique & Purpose. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1981. p.27.
Miller, Liz. 'From Marcantonio Raimondi to the Postcard: Prints of the Raphael
Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, Accessions 1912, London, Printed for His Majesty’s Stationery Office 1913


Pen and wash; Paper; Pencil



Subjects depicted



Drawings; Religion; Christianity


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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