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Laurent de La Hyre's 'Allegorical Figure of Grammar'

Humphrey Wine, Paul Ackroyd and Aviva Burnstock
Technical Bulletin Volume 14, 1993


Allegory of Grammar is one of a series of seven female half-lengths, whose history and iconography are presented. Comparison with the same subject, now in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, USA, suggests that the National Gallery version was painted first, from detailed preparatory drawings (now lost), while the other may have been copied in De La Hyre's studio. Previously blanched paint revealed during cleaning had to be retouched.

The technique of both is compared with the writings of De La Hyre's son. Both paintings have a canvas support and a double ground, toned to different shades in the two cases, which suggests that the 'copy' dates from the 17th century. Underdrawing and a preparatory wash of palette scrapings or possibly brush washings were used beneath paint applied in a similar manner to Claude's. The technique is described in detail and the pigments identified.


canvas, copies, drawings, Laurent de La Hyre, National Gallery (London), paint, pigment, Walters Art Gallery (Baltimore, Maryland, USA)

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To cite this article we suggest using

Wine, H., Ackroyd, P., Burnstock, A. 'Laurent de La Hyre's "Allegorical Figure of Grammar"'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 14, pp 22–33.