The Wallace Collection

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Rebecca and Brian de Bois-Guilbert
  • Léon Cogniet (1794 - 1880)
  • Rebecca and Brian de Bois-Guilbert
  • France
  • 1828
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 88.5 x 116 cm
    Object size: 123 x 51.5 x 14 cm
  • Signature: '1828 / Léon Cogniet'
  • P279
  • West Gallery II
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • The historical tales of Walter Scott were extraordinarily popular in early 19th-century France. They brought to the historical novel a new authenticity, believable characters and exciting plot lines. In the 1820s and 1830s many French artists, particularly those of a younger generation seeking an alternative to classical art and subjects found inspiration in them. The subject of this painting is taken from Scott’s 'Ivanhoe' (published in 1820), chapter XXXI. At the siege of the castle of Torquilstone the beautiful Rebecca, daughter of Isaac the Jew, is abducted by the Norman Templar, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert. Ulrica, an old Saxon woman who had set fire to the castle, exalts in her vengeful fury at the top of the distant tower. The picture was a popular success at the Paris Salon of 1831. A preparatory sketch is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Orléans, and a reduced variant, probably not by Cogniet himself, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York..