John Frederick Lewis RA
An Italian Strolling Musician
Watercolour over pencil heightened with bodycolour
427 x 287 mm., 16 ¾ x 11 ¼ in.
Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, 12th July 1984, lot 163
This dates from Lewis's two year stay in Italy in the late 1830s. It is one of several studies he made of Italian musicians or pifferari as they were known, one of which was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1854 (no.520).
Pifferari often played at shrines or religious buildings in Southern Italy but it is not known where the present drawing was made. A piffero was an oboe-like instrument - here two pifferi are attached to a goat skin bag and played like a bagpipe.