Made when Charles Keene was only about 20 years old, this powerful and engaging self-portrait speaks volumes for his draftsmanship. Based on careful observation of detail and a subtle rendering of light and shade, it captures the artist close-up wearing a hat, perhaps a fez. The quality of Keene's penwork in brown ink is extraordinary, with insistent hatching and cross-hatching, and stippled effects in areas of the cheek. At about this time, when Keene was apprenticed to the book-illustrators Whymper Brothers, he made a number of etchings - "scratching on copper" as he called it - and the influence of this technique is apparent here in the precise draftsmanship.


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