Thomas Hovenden, Study of a French Soldier with Young Girl
In the winter of 1878, after living and painting in Pont-Aven, France, for three years, Thomas Hovenden moved to Paris. He was courting fellow artist Helen Corson, whom he later married, at the time, and in Paris he began exploring themes of courtly love in his work.
For this drawing of a French soldier and a young woman, Hovenden likely borrowed costumes from his friend Milne Ramsey, who painted historical scenes from the period of Louis XIII. Many of Hovenden’s drawings and paintings from this period feature models dressed in costumes from that era.
The soldier flirts with the young woman as she demurely gazes down. The two figures’ costumes and features resemble those of the figures in Hovenden’s The Favorite Falcon (in the collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) and Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady (in Woodmere’s collection). Hovenden and Corson modeled for those works and may have been the models for this drawing as well.