Thomas Hovenden, Study of a Smiling French Musketeer
After spending three years in the Brittany village of Pont-Aven, Thomas Hovenden returned to Paris in 1878 to work on costume paintings. His friend, American artist Milne Ramsey (1847–1915), painted historical works using a vast collection of furniture, props, and costumes. Hovenden probably borrowed from Ramsey’s costume collection when he created historical paintings such as Faint Heart Never Won Fair Lady, also in the Woodmere Art Museum’s collection. Hovenden sent some of his photographs and drawings from this period to his patron, John W. McCoy, to keep him abreast of his work. McCoy expressed delight and asked for more of “your Louis XIII things.”
This is one of three drawings of the same subject by Hovenden in the Woodmere’s collection. In this one and one of the other two, the musketeer appears in the same outfit and pose. In this version, however, he looms larger and lacks some of the details, including the model’s dark curly hair.