Loan of historic painting to the USA

Published: 10 February 2021

The painting ‘Washington Irving in the Archives at Seville’ by David Wilkie has been loaned by Leicester Museums for the Americans in Spain: Painting and Travel, 1820-1920 exhibition which is touring to two venues in the USA. The exhibition begins at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Virginia on 12th February where it will show until 16th May and then is at the Milwaukee Art Museum from 11th June to 3rd October 2021.

'Washington Irving in the Archives at Seville’ by David Wilkie
'Washington Irving in the Archives at Seville’ by David Wilkie

This work depicts the American writer, Washington Irving, a close friend of the artist, examining a book shown to him by a monk in an old library in Seville during a visit by the two friends in 1828. Irving was in Spain when Wilkie arrived there in October 1827, engaged in writing his ‘History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus’, possibly stimulating Wilkie's interest in this subject.

This painting was exhibited at both the Glasgow International Exhibition and the Grosvenor Gallery in 1888 before entering the Museum collection in 1890.