My copy of Bargue’s copy of Holbein’s Portrait of Sir Thomas Elyot

This is my forth Bargue drawing done at the Toronto Academy of Realist Art. Students at the academy start by doing four Bargue copies before moving on to drawing from the cast, so this is my final Bargue drawing done at the academy.

Each Bargue drawing we do is of increasing complexity, so this one has a lot more subtle details than my first three Bargue drawings. The course is available in book form as the Charles Bargue and JeanLeon Gerome Drawing Course.

In those first drawings I copyied Bargue’s studies of casts/sculptures. This one is little special since his drawing is actually a copy of a Hans Holbein drawing. So my drawing is a copy of a copy.


My first Bargue drawings were done with graphite pencils, while I used Carbon pencils for one. Carbon is a bit like a mix between drawing with graphite and charcoal. It is trickier to handle as it is somewhat waxy and almost un-erasable. But handled correctly the dark tones will be richer and deeper with carbon compared to graphite.

My drawing (left) executed at a larger scale beside the lithograph by Charles Bargue.

As part of increasing the compexity of the task for the fourth and final Bargue drawing at the Academy of Realist Art students also have to enlarge the drawing they are copying. This makes it more challenging to keep all the proportions correct, as compared to when drawing at the same scale in the first three Bargue copies.

(The drawing is plate II, 19 in the Charles Bargue Drawing Course. It is only a small picture in the drawing course book, but the academy had an original lithograph of the drawing.)

The Hans Holbein original

This is what the original Hans Holbein the Younger portrait of Thomas Elyot looks like (The portrait is part of the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle in England):

Sir Thomas Elyot by Hans Holbein the Younger. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

From what I can tell “Elyot” is the correct spelling of the name and I don’t know why Holbein wrote it as “Eliott”. In his portait of Thomas Elyot’s wife, he uses the spelling “Eliot”. So he changed it, but it seems like he got it wrong both times.

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