HELLO, HANDSOME – COURTESY OF SIR THOMAS LAWRENCE

by Kristine Hughes Patrone

Recently, I was Googling portraits of the Duke of Wellington by Sir Thomas Lawrence (as one does) and the search returned images that were decidedly not Wellington. And I must say, some of the sitters were exceedingly handsome, and some of them were portraits I hadn’t seen before. So I Googled some more and you’ll find the results of my search below. Enjoy!

Portrait of Frederic Lock of Norbury Park, Surrey. Youngest child of William Lock, a London art critic. 




William Lock the Younger, elder brother to Frederic, above. 

From Yale Center for British ArtIt has been suggested that Lawrence’s sensitive portrait of the younger William Lock may be a study for an untraced portrait of the sitter exhibited as the royal Academy in 1791. Lock’s attire and hairstyle indicate a later dating however, and Lawrence did not usually make preliminary drawings for his paintings, preferring to prepare them by drawing directly on the canvas with chalk. . . . The sitter was the son of the connoisseur William Lock (1732-1810), was one of Lawrence’s first sitter and a close friend of the artist. The younger Lock (1767-1847) was a keen patron of the arts and an aspiring artist, but after viewing Rome he lost faith in his talent and gave up painting, though he continued to draw. 




Arthur Atherley MP 1772 – 1844

This portrait was painted by Lawrence when Atherley was an Eatonian. Afterwards, he went to Trinity College and went on to stand as MP for Southampton for four terms. He was a founding member of the Fox Club. He also served as a justice of the peace in Sussex and died at Tower House, Brighton. 



The finished portrait now hangs in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, but an unfinished sketch of the same subject, above, was recently purchased from a private owner by the Holburne Museum, Bath. You can read more about that here




John Arthur Douglas Bloomfield, 2nd Baron Bloomfield 1802 – 1879

Astonishingly, Wikipedia tells me that Bloomfield was privately educated and became an attache to Vienna at the age of sixteen. This may have been due, at least in part, to the position of his father, the 1st Baron Bloomfield, about whom Wikipedia says: “He was an Aide-de-Camp, then Chief Equerry and Clerk Marshal to the Prince of Wales and finally was Private Secretary to the King, Keeper of the Privy Purse, and Receiver of the Duchy of Cornwall from 1817 to 1822. One of issues that Bloomfield had to contend with a Private Secretary was King’s extravagant spending.” However, things did not end well for the elder Baron Bloomfield. You’ll find the story here.  




Richard Hart Davis Jr. 1791 – 1854



Charles William Bell

French video on Lawrence’s painting technique




Henry Brougham, 1st Baron Brougham and Vaux 1778 – 1868

Anti-slavery campaigner, attorney to Queen Caroline and one of the first Englishmen to fall in love with Cannes and make it into a popular resort. Like Wellington, Brougham was named by Harriet Wilson in her Memoirs. Unlike Wellington, he caved and paid the hush money her publisher demanded to keep his name out of the book. Brougham’s name is still familiar to us, as a style of coach was named for a vehicle he designed, which was carried on until recent memory as a style of automobile. Find his full biographical story here.

And finally . . . . .




Sir Thomas Lawrence, unfinished self portrait, circa 1825

ONCE AGAIN WEDNESDAY: Who Wants to be (or look at) a Horse's Behind?

by Victoria Hinshaw

On our post-Wellington tour jaunt around London, Kristine and I found another copy of the painting discussed below as appearing in the 1995 Pride and Prejudice film as it hangs in Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, depicting George, the Prince of Wales, and his horse’s behind.  It hangs in the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.


An engraving of the painting also appears in “What Jane Saw,”  a digital recreation of an exhibition at he British Institution in Pall all in 1813.  Click here to see the website and click again on the picture itself to read the description.

Originally published April 2010

In May of 2009, my husband and I visited Brocket Hall, formerly the home of Lord Melbourne, now part of a golf complex. The house, in excellent condition, serves as a venue for corporate events and weddings. Brocket is located near Hertford and Hatfield just north of London. Part of the original land of the adjacent country homes of the London wealthy has been developed into Welwyn Garden City.

The ballroom in Brocket was used for the interiors of Netherfield, the home rented by Mr. Bingley, in the 1995 BBC version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In the picture above, you see Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth leading the country dance. In the far background, you can barely make out a portrait of George, Prince of Wales, standing beside the rump of his horse. The painting, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, was presented to Elizabeth, Lady Melbourne (mother of the Prime Minister), who reputedly was the mistress of the Prince for a time.

Here is another view of the painting behind Mr. Darcy.

I laughed when I saw this painting, a copy of which I have been unable to locate on any website pertaining either to the Prince of Wales (later George IV) or Sir Joshua Reynolds.

The pose reminded me of a famous view of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. A version of this painting hung in the Elgin Academy Art Gallery where I played at my piano teacher’s annual recital for her students and their parents. There are other versions of the Stuart portrait, chiefly belonging to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  I have always wondered how many of my fellow performers looked up in the middle of their playing to be faced with that horse’s . . . ah . . .tail.

George Washington by Gilbert Stuart
Since those youthful days, the question has arisen in my mind — why paint the rear end of the horse so prominently? In my search of the web for a copy of the Reynolds portrait above, I found some discussions of this exact point. But no one had a definitive answer. Someone suggested that the rear of the horse was a comment by the artist on the character of the subject. One writer said Stuart was not good at painting horses. Another said that men were so portrayed because they were prepared to jump on the horse and take off — being in a position on the horse’s left easily to reach the stirrup. Anyone have any views on this world-shattering question?
The Marquis of Granby, by Sir Joshua Reynolds

Above is another example. This is General John Manners, Marquis of Granby, who was painted by Reynolds in about 1765. He died before he succeeded to the title of Duke of Rutland. This painting hangs in the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. The General was a popular figure, hence many pubs in England named The Marquis of Granby.

Above, another painting by Gilbert Stuart. The subject is Louis-Marie, the vicomte de Noailles (1756-1804), who fought with the Americans during the Revolution. He returned to France but was driven out after their revolution and moved to Philadelphia in 1793. He was a banker and a friend of Washington, neither of which explains why he is standing next to his horse’s rump.

Here is my final example, a portrait of Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. It hangs at the country home of the Duke, Stratfield Saye.

I welcome any comments, clues, or links to additional poses of generals (or anyone) with their horses’ rumps.

GEORGIAN ART FROM THE NEW MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

SOME GEORGIAN ART FROM

THE NEW MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM

Following a major renovation and rehanging of the entire collections, it was time to celebrate…at one of several Opening Parties, we met for cocktails and canapes in the Calatrava addition (completed 2001). After the  official ribbon-cutting, we proceeded into the Older but newly renovated sections to view the entire collection in a new format.

MAM notice!
The Milwaukee Art Museum website is here.
Victoria here. As a long-time member, docent, volunteer, and staffer at the MAM, I was eager to see old friends in a new setting…and to enjoy the refreshed facilities, from the building itself, the HVAC system, lighting, and re-organisation of the collection. 
European Galleries

One (or three?) of those old friends: 
Triple Profile Portrait, C. 1560-80
French, School of Fontainebleau
Most of the galleries were closed for several years to complete the 6-year, $34 million for the renovation and expansion.  Special exhibitions went on in the Calatrava Wing, but we were very happy to see some of our favorites on display again.

The Age of Enlightenment–Immanuel Kant, 2008
by Yinka Shonibare, English, b. 1962
mixed media, purchase by the Contemporary Art Society

The MAM has a particularly fine presentation of American furniture, much from the Chipstone Foundation, as well as the Layton Art Collection. Read about the Chipstone Foundation here

Another of my personal favorites: London Visitors, 1874, by  James Tissot
French (1836-1902) A view on the steps of the National Gallery with the the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in the background.

And now to some promised Art from the Georgian Period, in both Britain and the U.S., her  colonies during much of the period 1714-1837

Miss Frances Lee, 1769
Francis Cotes (English, 1726–1770)
Portrait of Jane Emma Orde, ca. 1806
John Hoppner (English, 1758–1810)
    Puzzle Jug, ca. 1820
    Sunderland or New Castle, England
    Attributed to John Barry (British, active 1784–1827)
    Landscape, n.d.
    John Constable (English, 1776–1837)
    Thomas Lawrence (English, 1769–1830)
    Frederick, Duke of York, n.d.
    William Blake (English, 1757–1827)
    Portrait of a Terrier, The Property of Owen Williams, ESQ., M.P. (Jocko with a Hedgehog), 1828  Edwin Landseer    (English, 1802–1873)
    Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741–1827)
    Gilbert Stuart (American, 1755–1828)
    Philadelphia, High Chest of Drawers, 1760-75
    John James Audubon (American, b. Santo Domingo [now Haiti], 1785–1851). Entrapped Otter (Canada Otter), ca. 1827–30. 
    John Singleton Copley (American, 1738–1815)
    Alice Hooper, ca. 1763

     Also on view until May 31, 2016 are two more portraits by Copley.  The MAM states, “For the inaugural exhibition in the Constance and Dudley Godfrey American Art Wing’s Focus Gallery, the Milwaukee Art Museum will show two rare paintings never before exhibited in the United States: a pair of pendant portraits of American colonists Anne and Duncan Stewart by the country’s first old master, John Singleton Copley. Painted by Copley in 1767, the portraits show the Scottish couple who were prominent in Boston and Connecticut politics until the American War of Independence, when t
    hey took the loyalist side. In honor of their support, the English king restored their estates confiscated during the Jacobite Uprising, and the couple returned to Scotland, taking the portraits with them. Now owned by Edinburgh’s Stewart society—descendents of the sitters—the works will be returning to the United States for the first time in almost 250 years.

    Duncan Stewart of Ardsheal, d. 1793
    by John S. Copley, 1767

    Anne Erving, Mrs. Duncan Stewart (1740-after 1802)
    by John S. Copley

    I hope I didn’t miss too much — I am delighted to say there will be many return visits to the newly re-hung galleries!

      For now, just a few pictures of the magnificent building in three parts:
    A view of the first War Memorial Center from the south) by Eero Saarinen, opened in 1957, which included the Milwaukee Art Center
    The recently expanded and renovated Kahler Wing (1975 and 2015)
    from the east
    Two views of the Calatrava Wing and the two other sections;
    looking north from Lake Michigan

      AN ARTIST OF WATERLOO

      Many great artists painted scenes of Waterloo, as based on visits to the battlefield in the wake of the conflict and/or imagined later.

      Victoria here, writing of one of my favorites, Robert Alexander Hillingford (1825-1904), born in London  He studied in Germany and worked in Italy for several years. After he returned to London in 1864, he began to do historical paintings and became a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and other prominent galleries.

      His painting of the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball hangs at Goodwood House, the Richmond ducal seat in West Sussex.

      The Duchess  Richmond’s Ball by Robert A. Hillingford

       Details from the painting are featured on the cover of the Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: A Celebration of Waterloo.  This anthology brings you nine stories by nine best-selling and award-winning authors, including me (she whispered shamelessly).

      An exhibition, Dancing into Battle, on view at Goodwood House August 3 to October 22,  2015, is organized around the famous painting. For the website, click here.
      From the description of the display:
      “On 15th June 1815, the Duchess of Richmond hosted a ball at her home in Brussels. … Goodwood’s summer exhibition will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the ball…
      “Like many English aristocrats, the 4th Duke and Duchess of Richmond were living in Brussels owing to straightened financial circumstances. Their house became a hub of social activity filled with family and friends, including their own fourteen children. The Duchess invited the cream of Belgian and Dutch society, British civilians, diplomats and army officers to her ball. The Duke of Wellington, a great friend of the family, and the Prince of Orange were among the guests, all of whom appear in her guest list which is one of the treasures of the Goodwood collection – and which will also be on display during the summer exhibition.
      “… The message that was delivered to Wellington in the middle of the ball reported that Napoleon had crossed the border into Belgium. Examining a map with the Duke of Richmond, Wellington declared, ‘Napoleon has humbugged me, by God, he has gained twenty-four hours march on me’. When Richmond asked what he intended to do, he said that he had told the army to concentrate at Quatre-Bras, but that he would not stop Napoleon there, and pointing to the map placed his thumbnail on Waterloo declaring ‘I must fight him here’. 
      “That night many of the guests left straight for the holding battle of Quatre-Bas, followed two days later by the battle of Waterloo. Heart-wrenching scenes took place in the early hours of the morning as soldiers said goodbye to their loved ones, some never to see them again.” 
      Summoned to Waterloo by Robert A. Hillingford

      Hillingford’s painting, Summoned to Waterloo, depicts the courtyard of the house where the ball was held. At dawn on June 16th, the soldiers are leaving their sweethearts to head for combat.

      On the site of the Richmond Ball in Brussels an office building now stands;  there is no trace left of the dramatic scenes of June 15-16, 1815.

      The Turning Point by Robert A. Hillingford

      The Turning Point shows Napoleon and his Imperial Guard at the moment he realizes their attack on Wellington’s troops is failing.

      Lord Hill Inviting Surrender of the  Imperial Guard by Robert A. Hillingford

      Another Waterloo painting by Hillingford shows General Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill, commander of the British II Corps, inviting the French Imperial Guard to surrender at the end of the battle late in the day.

      Wellington At Waterloo by Robert A. Hillingford
      Most famous of all, perhaps, is Hillingford’s portrayal of the Duke of Wellington mounted on Copenhagen, summoning his troops to the final attack.  “Up Guards and at them again,”  he called, according to a Captain of the Foot Guards.

      Hillingford completed many detailed battle scenes, from several wars. Though completed long after the battles themselves, they convey both vivid action and spectacle.  

      English Civil War Scene (between 1642-1649)by Robert A Hillingford



      Marlborough Signing the Blenheim Dispatch in 1794  by Robert Alexander Hillingford.
      Saint Joan d’Arc by Robert A. Hillingford
      This portrait is much more intimate and conveys the spirit of Joan (c.1412-1431), if not her precise appearance. 
      Peasants of the Campagna by Robert A. Hilllingford
      He painted a wide variety of popular scenes, including some on which he drew from his experiences in Italy.
      And he did many scenes from the theatre, such as the one below.
      Much Ado About Nothing by Robert A. Hillingford

      The Wellington Connection – Count D'Orsay

      Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, by Alfred, Count D’Orsay

      Whilst the Duke of Wellington approved of elegance and was himself known as “the Beau,” he felt obliged to advise his splendidly uniformed Grenadier Guards that their behavior was “not only ridiculous but unmilitary” when they rode into battle on a rainy day with their umbrellas raised. A dandy Wellington was not. Odd, then, that one of the pictures of himself that Wellington liked most was one done by one of the greatest dandies of his day – Count D’Orsay. D’Orsay sketched the Duke in profile (above), in evening dress, and the Duke is said to have rather liked the picture, because it “made him look like a gentleman.”
      Count Albert Guillaume d’Orsay, the son of one of Napoleon’s generals, and descended by a morganatic marriage from the King of Wurttemburg was himself a gentleman in every sense, and his courtesy was of the highest kind. At the balls given by his regiment, although he was more courted than any other officer, he always sought out the plainest girls and showed them the most flattering attentions. During his firsts visit to London, Count d’Orsay was invited once or twice to receptions given by the Earl and Countess of Blessington, where he was well received, though this was only an incident of his English sojourn. Before the story proceeds any further it is necessary to give an account of the Earl and of Lady Blessington, since both of their careers had been, to say the least, unusual.

      Lord Blessington was an Irish peer for whom an ancient title had been revived. He was remotely descended from the Stuarts of Scotland, and therefore had royal blood to boast of. He had been well educated, and in many ways was a man of pleasing manner. On the other hand, he had early inherited a very large property which yielded him an income of about thirty thousand pounds a year. He had estates in Ireland, and he owned nearly the whole of a fashionable street in London, with the buildings erected on it.
      Thrown together by the same society and so often in each other’s company, the Earl of Blessington became as devoted to D’Orsay as did his wife. The two urged the Count to secure a leave of absence and to accompany them to Italy. This he was easily persuaded to do; and the three passed weeks and months of a languorous and alluring intercourse among the lakes and the seductive influence of romantic Italy. Just what passed between Count d’Orsay and Margaret Blessington at this time cannot be known, for the secret of it has perished with them; but it is certain that before very long they came to know that each was indispensable to the other.

      The situation was complicated by the Earl of Blessington, who, entirely unsuspicious, proposed that the Count should marry Lady Harriet Gardiner, his eldest legitimate daughter by his first wife. He pressed the match upon the embarrassed D’Orsay, and offered to settle the sum of forty thousand pounds upon the bride. The girl was less than fifteen years of age. She had no gifts either of beauty or of intelligence; and, in addition, D’Orsay was now deeply in love with her stepmother.

      Count D’Orsay, self portrait
      But once again I digress. Suffice it to say that eventually Lady Blessington and the Count set up a home together, both in London, at Gore House, and in Paris, where Lady Blessington died. Upon her death, andbefore when they found themselves in straightened financial waters, the Count drew upon his artistic talents, both in painting and sculpture, in order to earn money. Whatever one thought about the Count personally, no one could deny his artistic talent. D’Orsay would go on to produce a painting of Gore House, of which I can find no image to use here. Instead, I give you a comtemporary print of Gore House –
      And the description of D’Orsay’s painting, which illustrates the illustrious circles D’Orsay found himself within and also brings us back to the Duke of Wellington –
      “A garden view of Gore House, the residence of the late Countess of Blessington, with Portraits of the Duke of Wellington, Lady Blessington, the Earl of Chesterfield, Sir Edwin Landseer, Count D’Orsay, the Marquis of Douro (2nd Duke of Wellington), Lord Brougham, the Misses Power, etc.  In the foreground, to the right, are the Duke of Wellington and the Countess of Blessington; in the centre, Sir Edwin Landseer seated, who is in the act of sketching a very fine cow, which is standing in front, with a calf by its side, while Count D’Orsay, with two favorite dogs, is seen on the right of the group, and the Earl of Chesterfield on the left; nearer the house, the two Misses Power (nieces of Lady Blessington) are reading a letter, a gentleman walking behind. Further to the left appear Lord Brougham, the Marquis of Douro, etc., seated under a tree in conversation.”

      Paul and Thomas Sandby, Painters of Britain

      Victoria here, sorting out bookshelves…yes, that’s sort of like cleaning, but not quite.  And I found a treasure.  Couldn’t remember when I bought it, but I found a copy of a wonderful book: Views of Windsor: Watercolours by Thomas and Paul Sandby.  Of course, I had to quit the sorting and sit down to enjoy it. 

      The mystery was solved when I checked the publication page and saw that it is a catalogue which accompanied the exhibition of the same name from 1995-1997, which was shown in Amsterdam; Portland, Oregon; Memphis; Dallas; and Manchester, UK.  I must have seen it in Dallas.  The paintings are from the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. To see more, click here.
      Paul Sandby, The Castle from the Long Walk, ca. 1765
      Watercolour with pen and ink over graphite within black line
      Zoom on Image here.
      This is the view of the castle before the Round Tower was “tarted up” as a Gothic Fantasy by George IV and his architect Jeffry Wyattville in the 1820’s. Below, the view since that time, a much taller and more elaborate building.
      Windsor Castle, Round Tower, 2010
      Thomas Sandby (1721-1798) was the elder of the two brothers, both born in Nottingham. Thomas was an architectural draughtsman, artist and teacher. He joined the staff  of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, for his campaigns in Flanders and Scotland (1743–1748). Later, he became Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park, and also spent part of the year in London where he engaged in numerous architectural and artistic projects. He and his brother were among the 28 persons who were chosen as founding members of  the Royal Academy; Thomas was the RA’s first Professor of Architecture.
      Thomas Sandby, RA, by Sir William Beechey, n.d., NPG, London

      Paul Sandby, View through the Norman Gateway, looking west towards the Winchester Tower,
       ca. 1770; Watercolour with pen and ink over graphite

      Paul Sandby (1731-1809) was chief draughtsman for the Board of Ordnance’s 1747 project of mapping the Scottish Highlands. In the 1750’s, Paul and Thomas Sandby created hundreds of views of Windsor, the castle, the royal grounds, the town and other scenes.  Their work was admired by artists such as Gainsborough, who appreciated the details they captured. More than 500 of their paintings and drawings are held in the Royal Collection.  Paul was chief drawing master to the Royal Military academy and published several volumes of his works over the years. At his death, he was called “the father of modern landscape painting.”

      Paul Sandby sketching, by Francis Coates, 1791
      Tate Britain
      Paul Sandby, The Henry VIII Gateway and the Salisbury Tower from within the Lower Ward, ca. 1770
      Watercolour with pen and ink over graphite within black ink line

      Though it may be difficult to see without enlarging these views (which can easily be done with the zoom feature of the Royal Collection), one of the major interests of the Sandbys’ work goes beyond the exactitude of the buildings in time.  The figures in the foreground, pedestrians, workers, riders…all provide a perfect picture of what people wore, what they did, even what they ate at the time.  They provide a rich source for those of us who obsess over minute details of the period.

      Paul Sandby, The north front of the Castle from Isherwood’s Brewery in Datchet Lane, c. 1765
      Watercolour and body colour with pen and ink
      Paul Sandby, The Norman Gateway from the gate to the North Terrace, ca. 1770
      Watercolour and bodycolour with pen and ink over graphite

      Paul Sandby, The Castle from Datchet Lane on a rejoicing night, 1768
      Watercolour and bodycolour including gold paint, within black line
      The subject matter of the rejoicing night is unknown; from the leaves on the trees, it cannot be Guy Fawkes Night (5 November), but the distant bonfire and/or fireworks suggests a celebration.
      Thomas and Paul Sandby The Walk and terrace at Cranbourne Lodge 1752
      Watercolour and bodycolour with Pen and ink over graphite
      This volume of wonderful views of Windsor is now in a more prominent position in my bookcases — and I am willing to report that I plan to share any more treasures I uncover.  I’ve already got one in mind, Royal London.  Coming one of these days….

      Kenwood House: Traveling Treasures

      Early Spring at Kenwood House

      Victoria here, recalling several visits to Kenwood House, a beautiful white mansion sitting atop Hampstead Heath just outside of central London.  Originally built in the early 17th century, it was remodeled by Robert Adam 1764-1779 in the neoclassic style with Adam’s distinctive and oft-copied interiors.

      1st Earl of Mansfield (1705-1793)

      At the time, it was owned by William Murray, who was named Baron Mansfield, later 1st Earl of Mansfield.  He was the Lord Chief Justice from 1756 to 1788 and is credited with  major contributions to the development of English law as well as measures to end slavery in the British Isles.

      Elevations of Kenwood House, 1764

      The famous Library

      In 1925, Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh (1847-1927) and heir to a brewery fortune, bought the house from the Mansfield heirs as the home for his magnificent collection of art. At Iveagh’s death in 1927, he left both the house and the art collection to the nation.  It is also known as the Iveagh Bequest.

      Now managed by English Heritage, Kenwood House is undergoing extensive renovations and improvements, returning many rooms to their appearance after Robert Adam decorated them, probably to match the library, which has been long admired by visitors.

      In 2012-13 an exhibition of works from the collection Rembrandt, Van Dyck, Gainsborough: The Treasures of Kenwood House, London   is touring museums in the United States while Kenwood House is closed. Many of the works have never before been outside Britain.  The treasured Rembrandt Self-Portrait was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art briefly in spring before the whole exhibition opened at the Fine Arts Museum of Houston, Texas, where it can been seen until September 3, 2012.

      Self Portrait, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1661

      I am particularly excited because the collection will next travel to the Milwaukee Art Museum (practically in my front yard) from October 12, 2012 through January 13, 2013.  After Milwaukee, the collection will be shown in Seattle and later yet at the Arkansas Art Center.

      The other artists celebrated in the title of this traveling exhibition include Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641) who painted numerous portraits of English royalty and aristocrats.

      Princess Henrietta of Lorraine attended by a Page, 1634

      Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) is renowned for his exquisite portraits, and this one is among his best.

      Mary, Countess of Howe, c. 1764
      Many other masterworks are included in the nearly fifty paintings in the exhibition by artists such as Canaletto,  Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Thomas Lawrence,  Sir Edwin Landseer, and…

      Portrait of Pieter van der Broecke, by Frans Hals, 1633
      Joseph Mallord William Turner, A Coast Scene
       with Fisherman Hauling a Boat Ashore, c. 1803-04
      George Romney, Emma Hart as The Spinstress, c. 1783-84
      The exhibition Rembrandt, van Dyck and Gainsborough: Treasures from Kenwood House is organized by The American Federation of Art and English Heritage.

      The Sculptor Chantrey

      For those of us who love to poke around in British palaces, castles, stately homes, museums and all sorts of historical sites (that’s probably all of us), with a special interest in the Georgian and Victorian periods (most of us??), sooner or later we will begin to notice the recurring name of Francis Chantrey, a sculptor whose works are simply all over the place.

      Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey, by Thomas Phillips, 1818 (NPG)

      Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey (1781-1841) was not only a renowned and prolific artist, but also a philanthropist who left a bequest for the purchase of artwork for the nation.  The income from investing the £105,000 from his legacy has been used to purchase hundreds of artworks by British artists for the nation’s museums and continues to this day.

      Chantrey self portrait, 1810, Tate Britain

      The UK’s National Portrait Gallery has hundreds of works by Chantrey himself, from sketches executed as preparation for his sculptures, to marble busts of leading men of his generation.

      Drawings Chantrey made of Sir John Soane, preparatory work for the bust Chantrey sculpted which today can be seen in Sir John Soane’s Museum, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, below.

      Close-up of the bust of Sir John Soane
      Last year, at the Yale Center for British Art, Diane Gaston, a well-known Regency author, and Victoria posed with a Chantrey bust of George IV. 
      As so often in Georgian-era portraits, the subject is wearing a Roman-style toga.  And without being unrealistic, somehow the expression on the King’s face seems to me quite representative of his character.  Unlike the overly flattering pictures by others, particularly Sir Thomas Lawrence, this Chantrey bust gives us a hint of the dichotomy in George IV: one the one hand selfish, narcissistic and extravagant — but on the other hand, a great builder and  connoisseur of the arts.
      This Chantrey bust is one of several similar versions he and his studio produced, dated 1827.
      Chantrey’s equestrian statue of George IV
       
      George IV and the royal family were frequent patrons of Chantrey.  His bronze state of Geogbe IV on horseback can be found in Trafalgar Square, as above. Below is George IV in the center of the Grand Vestibule of Windsor Castle’s State Rooms, flanked by mounted knights.
      The magnificent statue of the mounted Duke of Wellington by Chantrey stands outside the Royal Exchange in the City of London.

      Below, a sketch of the pedestal made by Chantrey for the Wellington statue.

      Chantrey’s sketch of the Duke of Wellington for a bust.

      Born near Sheffield, Francis Chantrey was the son of a carpenter and became an apprentice to a woodcarver.  His skill and talentset him apart, and he was given lessons in painting.  He was a able to earn enough as a portrait painter to move to London, where by 1804, he was included in exhibitions at the Royal Academy
      Chantrey Self-Portrait, NPG
       In a few years, he devoted himself mainly to sculpture.  He married in 1807, and soon was doing commissions for naval officers and the Greenwich Hospital.  He visited Italy in 1819 and associated with the leading artists of his day.  He was knighted in 1835 by William IV.  When he died, he was buried in a tomb he had constructed for himself in St. James Church, near Sheffield.

      Above, the Marble Hall at Holkham Hall in Norfolk, the estate of the earls of Leicester.   On either side of the staircase (on the right behind the piano) are two busts by Sir Francis Legatt Chantrey.

      Reproduction of a marble bust of Coke of Norfolk (1754-1842), by Chantrey, from 1829, which can be purchased from the estate at their website: http://www.holkhamsculpturereproductions.co.uk/
      Coke of Norfolk, a great agricultural innovator, was the great nephew of Thomas Coke, and Coke of Norfolk was named 1st Earl of Leicester of the Seventh Creation in 1837.

      Below, the reproduction of Chantrey’s marble copy of a bust of Thomas Coke, first Earl of Leicester (1697-1759) of the Sixth Creation. created by Louis Francoise Roubilliac (1705-1762).  Both busts were sculpted to stand among the large collection of classical busts acquired by Thomas Coke and displayed at Holkham.

      Above, Sir Joseph Banks in the British Museum, Botanist, Trustee and Benefactor, by Sir Francis Chantey, dated 1826.

      Also displayed in the British Museum, Chantrey’s bust of his collaborator and mentor, the famous 18th c. sculptor Joseph Nollekens (1737-1823).

      Besides the dozens of busts Chantrey sculpted, which were highly prized and sought after, he did some touching works which displayed his skill in composition as well as compassion.

      The Sleeping Children, 1817, above, in the Litchfield Cathedral, was commissioned by the widowed mother of the two dead girls, Mrs. Ellen-Jane Woodhouse Robinson.  Most observers find it the finest of Chantrey’s works.

      The Royal Collection

      The lovely portrayal of Dorothea Jordan was commissioned  from Chantrey by King William IV and completed in 1834. It has been displayed in Buckingham Palace since 1980.  Mrs. Jordan, a leading actress of her day, was the long-time mistress of William IV when he was Duke of Clarence and bore him ten children, known by the surname FitzClarence.

      Bridgeman

      This drawing of the anteroom of Chantrey’s sculpture gallery (30 Belgrave Place) shows its design by Sir John Soane for his friend, the sculptor.

      Pen, Brush and Chisel: The Studio of Sir Francis Chantrey by artist Sir Edwin Landseer (1803-73), Royal Collection

      This charming portrait of Mustard, Chantrey’s terrier, and his sculpting tools was presented to Queen Victoria by Lady Chantrey in 1842. According to the description in the Royal Collection, “The painting was commissioned in April 1835 by Chantrey, who sent Landseer a humorous letter, supposedly from Mustard. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836 when it was admired by Queen Victoria.”  After Chantrey’s death, his widow presented the painting to the Queen.

      Queen Victoria, marble, 1841, by Sir Francis Chantrey, Royal Collection
      Chantrey created portraits of four British sovereigns.  Above, his last work, a bust of Queen Victoria,  was Prince Albert’s  favorite portrayal of his wife

      Also in the Royal Collection is this watercolour on ivory by Andrew Robertson (1777-1845), dated 1800. Purchased  by Queen Victoria in 1880, it portrays Chantrey “Half-length, standing, facing slightly to the right, wearing a grey studio coat and dark blue waistcoat and holding a hammer, chisel and yellow dustcloth, beside his bust of George IV; grey-blue eyes, grey-brown hair; red curtains background.”

      The painting above is The Burial of Sir Frances Chantrey  by artist Henry Perlee Parker, 1841. It was  badly damaged in a flood in 2007 at the Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, and had to be dried for more than a year before it was conserved.  Chantrey is buried in St. James Church, Sheffield, near the village of his birth.

      Johann Zoffany by Jo Manning – Part Two

       Queen Charlotte with her Children and Brothers – Zoffany 1773

      Akin to the group paintings of the Sharps, Gores, Impeys, and Queen Charlotte’s family, is Zoffany’s cluttered-with-many-many-bodies iconic painting of the founding members of the Royal Academy – a painting faithfully reproduced whenever a piece about that august association is published – showing the two female founders, Mary Moser (a painter of exquisite still life, mostly flowers in vases) and Angelika Kauffmann (a renowned allegory painter whose work can be seen on ceilings at the Royal Academy building at Piccadilly Circus).  They are on the wall, not 100% part of this mostly male group.
      The Royal Academicians, circa 1771-1772

      The painting brutally conveys the message that no women were allowed to pursue life studies, paintings using nude male models.  While the men are intently engaged upon the muscular attributes of these young and muscular men, these women are framed in portraits on the wall, woefully gazing at each other, far removed from the action below.

      I was quite familiar with the RA painting, as I have been doing research on 18th century female painters for some years, but I had not had the opportunity to see in full force the magnificence of his famous Tribuna Of The Uffizi, painted over the years 1772-78, when Zoffany resided in Italy.  The Tribuna is an octagonal room in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence that was designed for the De Medicis in the late 1580s, and where the most important collections of that family were displayed. Zoffany here portrays the northeast section of the room, but varies their arrangement – artistic license – deliberately adding works that were not normally displayed there.

       This is a fabulous work, simply fabulous! My initial assessment of Zoffany’s work was now seriously challenged as I gazed upon this wonder.  So much is taking place: connoisseurs discussing a nude painting; young men on their Grand Tour gazing appreciatively and lustfully at the buttocks of a marble statue of Venus; a youth eying the sketch a gentleman is making of another marble statue; and, everywhere, exquisite renderings of great works of art.  One could never tire of looking at so many minute details and musing upon the vignettes told so amusingly by the artist.

         
      A Tribute to the Ufizzi – 1775

       As Alastair Sooke recently described it in the Telegraph:

                      “[The exhibit includes] a staggering picture called The Tribuna of the Uffizi, which is often described as the best painting he ever made. Commissioned by Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, it took Zoffany the best part of the 1770s to complete. Amid a tumult of famous works inside the Tribuna room of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Grand Tourists can be seen chin-wagging. Zoffany includes more than 20 portraits of miscellaneous toffs surrounded by replicas of masterpieces by Holbein, Rubens, Raphael and others.

                      “An emblem of the curious, acquisitive spirit of the 18th century, it is spectacularly detailed.  As its rhythms ripple across the retina, the eye’s muscles have to work overtime to keep up  with the profusion of the artist’s vision. The unifying bright red of the background, though,    deftly prevents the composition from swirling into chaos.

                      “Part of the fun comes from spotting works of art (a Raphael Madonna here, a nude by Titian there), almost in the manner of the Where’s Wally? children’s books. But as well as being     learned, the painting is full of hearty innuendo, as Zoffany satirises the less-than-lofty aspirations of the English ‘milordi’ who set off on the Grand Tour in search of amatory, not artistic, conquests. A group of five men gaze adoringly at the sculpted bottom of the Medici      Venus (one uses an eyeglass to get a really good look). Elsewhere, th
      ere are visual gags about buggery. The work is a wonderful reminder that the 18th century was as rowdy as it was  refined. Perhaps this explains why Zoffany’s royal patron wasn’t enamoured with the finished piece, which was relegated to Kew Palace.”

       (If you want to know more about this piece, check out Oliver Millar’s Zoffany And His Tribuna, which contain the expanded and illustrated notes of a lecture given by Millar on the subject at the Courtauld Institute in 1964.)

      Sooke’s well-written, almost poetic piece (“rhythms ripple across the retina”) segues into my what-I-didn’t-know-about-Johann-Zoffany story quite nicely.  The buggery jokes… !  The gentleman who has his hand on the canvas of the Venus of Urbino, by Titian, and seems to be pointing to the statue of the naked wrestlers, is one Thomas Patch, a scoundrel who’d been exiled from Rome for homosexuality/aka/buggery.  (This depiction of Patch, in particular, seemed to have offended Queen Charlotte, the “royal patron”; she and her husband the King can be said to have had a limited sense of humor.)

      So, then, Zoffany was not as boring as his court/society/family portraits might have indicated.  Indeed, he was an urbane, witty man who was involved in his share of scandal…befitting the 18th century, that great age for scandal. As Sooke comments further, he “was an urbane chap with an eye for the ladies and an appetite for the finer things in life.”  How true, how true, is this last comment!

      For he was apparently also a bigamist, marrying his pregnant second wife – his very young mistress, who’d stowed aboard the ship carrying him to Rome – whilst still married to his first wife, who lived apart from him in Germany. This “marriage” was, obviously, illegal while his first wife was alive and they were not divorced.

      This intrigued me greatly, so I looked into it further, consulting the excellent 2011 biography by Mary Webster (Yale University Press 2011).  Zoffany had married Maria Juliana Antonetta Eiselein in Wurzberg, Germany, and had moved to London with him. Claiming homesickness, she left him early on, before 1771, but then returned briefly, only to leave him again around 1772, with the same complaint of missing her family and country.

      In 1772, Zoffany took out what is called “letters of denization”, declaring he desired to switch his religious affiliation from Roman Catholic to Protestant. His biographer Mary Webster says, by way of explanation, that “German Protestants were allowed to divorce on grounds of incompatibility without incurring any social disgrace to either side.”  (Rather enlightened, that!) So, was this an attempt to divorce Maria Juliana Antonetta?  It might have been, but he never followed through with an action.  (Webster further speculates that it might have upset his Roman Catholic family in southern Germany if he were actually to divorce his wife.) Instead, he sent her back home with an annuity; they remained married but never saw each other again. They’d had no children together.

      With Mrs Zoffany gone, there were rumors that the artist had taken up with the wife of “an Israelite”, an unnamed Jewish woman. There was also talk that he roamed the London streets looking for young girls. This last bit of information comes from a well-connected German woman at the court of King George III named Mrs Charlotte Papendieck, who was to become a close friend and confidante of Zoffany’s next mistress – and, eventually, his wife – the teenager Mary Thomas.  Mary – described as a very beautiful girl — was said in Mrs P’s memoirs to have told her the story of how she met Zoffany.

      Mary Thomas, circa 1781, at the Ashmolean, Oxford, the artist’s second wife…

      Though Mrs Papendieck’s memoirs were later disputed as to their veracity by the Zoffany’s children and grandchildren, what she has to say is fascinating. According to the 2011 book edited by Martin Postle:

                  “Mary Thomas, the daughter of a London glove maker, first met Zoffany sometime in the winter of 1771 or early the following year. [This would be about the time Maria Juliana Antonetta fled London for Germany the second time.] Mary’s own account of her life with Zoffany was recorded in the memoirs of her friend Charlotte Papiendieck.  According to Mrs Papendieck, Mary had told her how Zoffany, who ‘in his leisure hours prowled around for victims of self-gratification’, had stalked her to her parents’ ‘humble dwelling’. Shortly afterwards, he left for Italy. On discovering that she was pregnant, Mary stowed away on the boat, making herself known to Zoffany during the voyage. On arrival in Italy, Zoffany apparently told Mary his German wife had died a few months earlier, and so ‘he married the object of his              affection, who became a mother at 16’.”

      In Webster’s biography, there is some discussion as to whether she might have been 14 at the time she became pregnant. She could also have been closer to 17, but there is no definitive proof to corroborate this. She may indeed have become
      a mother at 16.  He was 39, a good 20+ years older than she.  (If she was really 14, it would have been a difference of 25 years in age!)

      Mary Thomas gave birth to Zoffany’s first child we know of, a boy, in Italy.  Zoffany may have gone through a form of marriage with her in Genoa that the girl thought was legal – she was very young and said to be rather naïve and shy – and he supposedly told her his wife had died – but the first Mrs Z was very much alive in 1772.  (She died in Germany in 1805, 33 years later.) From 1772 onwards, however, Mary Thomas was to pass as Zoffany’s wife.

      Tragedy struck when the baby was 16 months old and he fell from a go-cart down a steep set of stairs in Florence; the severe head injury was to kill him three weeks later. They went on to have four daughters together, two before he left for India in 1783 – without Mary – and two more daughters after he returned to her.

      While in India, he was reputed to have taken up with an Indian woman and had at least one child, perhaps more.  According to the Postle book, “Given his own libidinous predisposition, it was inevitable that he should have taken an Indian mistress, with whom he had several children, including a son.”  Though it is hard to establish that he had “several children”, there seems to be agreement that he did have at least one son with his Indian mistress. This child was said to have been left in the household of a French nawab, Claude Martin, a man with whom Zoffany had been very friendly, but the little boy has been lost in the mists of time.  Nothing more was ever heard of him again, nor of any other children he might have sired with this Indian woman.

      Zoffany returned quite wealthy to England in 1788 after his sojourn in India and settled into that very nice home on Strand-on-the-Green. But, according to that old gossip and gadabout, diarist/letter-writer Horace Walpole, he came back “in more wealth than health”.  India’s climate was harsh on Europeans, and diseases — before the advent of antibiotics – caused the deaths of many expatriates. But although he was said to be weakened in health, Zoffany lived for 22 more years. It was at 65 Strand-on-the-Green, that beautiful home on the river, where he died.

      I’m standing by his tomb at the head of this piece, and here are more photographs from that churchyard many of you might have passed on the way to Kew Gardens:

      St Anne’s, Kew, with the road to Kew Gardens, that great botanical showpiece, in the background. This inscription is of Mary Thomas, Zoffany’s second wife, who died in the great cholera outbreak in 1832, 22 years after the death of her husband…

      This was one of his grandchildren…a baby girl…

      I can’t identify the grandchild, nor the year of her death, nor whose daughter she was, which child of his four daughters’ children.  (As I mentioned previously, there were four daughters of his marriage with Mary Thomas and a boy who died before the age of two years whose name I could not verify.)

      The first two girls Zoffany had with Mary Thomas were Maria Theresa (1774), who was called Theresa, and Cecelia (1779); the last two were Claudina (1794) and Laura (1796). Their father left them ample dowries of £2,000 each and all made “good” marriages. To his wife Mary he left the house on Strand-on-the-Green and money for her upkeep.  But there was a restriction on the house:  she would lose it if she remarried.  Though she received at least one known proposal – from the wealthy sculptor Joseph Nollekens — she never did remarry.

      And what of that first wife moldering away in Germany?  She passed away in January of 1805, so that bigamist Zoffany finally wed Mary Thomas at St Pancras Church on April 20th, four months after receiving word of his first wife’s death. Zoffany was 72; she was by then probably in her late 40s. They were to be legally wed only five years; the painter, who suffered from severe dementia in his last years of life, passed away in 1810.  Mary Thomas outlived him by 22 years, dying in 1832 from the great cholera epidemic in London; sadly, their eldest daughter Theresa died within a few days of her mother from the same outbreak of disease.

      Quite a life our peripatetic Johann Zoffany led…

      One would hardly have known it, from his (mostly) sedate paintings.  And he was a fun fellow, too.  This painting shocked me, but only because it was the Zoffany I had not known, a man who hung condoms on his wall and dressed as a friar to take part in a bacchanalia one can only imagine!

      He’s dressing up a Franciscan monk, according to the caption, preparing for a night out on the town J

      I go into condoms in great detail in my biography of Grace Dalrymple Elliott, My Lady Scandalous. If you are interested, read all about 18th century prophylactic use there. I leave you with the bon vivant, in this later, rather happy, self-portrait, painted  when Zoffany was 43 years of age…and already, alas, losing his hair:

      Still that skull, reminder of time running out…mortality, mortality…but that’s a smile on his face as he no doubt recalls his naughty sexual escapades well into his late middle age. He had a good life, methinks, despite his early loss of hair. Painted circa 1776…

      Johann Zoffany by Guest Blogger Jo Manning

      Who Ever Knew That About Johann Zoffany (1733-1810)… part one

      Jo Manning at the tomb of Johann Zoffany and some of his family members, St Anne’s Church, Kew, on a very cold and very grey day at the end of May 2012. (I am wearing 5 layers of clothing.) Nearby is the tomb of Thomas Gainsborough who, born six years before Zoffany, predeceased him by twenty-two years. The tomb was restored in 2008…

      And here is Gainsborough’s tomb, close to the wall of the church.  It was restored in the late 19th century, by an admirer of the painter, because it had fallen into such disrepair…

      Gainsborough shares his eternal rest with his wife and his nephew and protege, the talented Gainsborough DuPont, who died much too young…

      But, back to Johann Zoffany, whom I’d always considered rather…well, why not say it:  boring. Yes, boring. All those courtly paintings of royals and assorted aristocratic or rich mercantile families and groups… He had to be as ho-hum as his subjects, no?

      Totally boring!

      Well, how wrong can someone be? Terribly wrong, as I was to find out. The man had some interesting aspects to his persona, not all of them admirable, but…ho-hum, he was not! His life fit right into the scandal-ridden 18th century.

                                                   
                                          Self-portrait as David with the head of Goliath, 1756

      Johann Zoffany was one of the first of the 18th century artists I came across in my researching of the London art scene a few decades ago.  He was competent enough, but his paintings seemed just that, competent, not too exciting.  A good man with the brush, for sure, but, really, his subjects?

      Let me take you with me on my journey to find who the man was behind the prolific and successful painter, the real Johann Zoffany, and this, only because the Royal Academy of Art has just had a major exhibit of sixty of his most important works.

      Zoffany’s former home at 65 Strand-on-the-Green, London, right on and across the river from Kew. A blue plaque is affixed between the 2nd and third windows, at the level above the front door. This is a lovely area, but one subject to major flooding when the river rises. Zoffany at one time owned several other houses on either side of Number 65…

      Though among the founding members of the Royal Academy, the group organized in 1768 at the expressed wish of King George III, a group which very soon became the premier association of artists in Britain, Zoffany’s been generally overlooked among the artists in that august body. In the last three years, however, three major and all-encompassing books on him have been published, the last two in 2011.

      Born in Germany, near Frankfurt, his original surname was spelled Zauffaly. Like his fellow academician John Hoppner (a portraitist also of German descent), he is not usually remembered in the pantheon of the best-known of the Georgian painters. You can be forgiven for not recognizing his name.

      The sad fact for perfectly good and talent artists like Zoffany and Hoppner (and so many others during that time) was that the 18th century art world was dominated by the affable friend-to-all Sir Joshua Reynolds (first president of the Royal Academy, a favorite of royal and aristocratic society), and his contemporary and rival, Thomas Gainsborough (though he could never be described as affable, much less friendly J 

      Not only were these two artists favored and favorites because of their talent, but because they gained fame by painting the day’s celebrities – the rich, the heroic, the notorious, the beautiful, and the very colorful – becoming household as well as society names.  Reynolds was, in addition, a workaholic with so many commissions he had to employ a stable of assistants to paint in background and even costume.  He and Gainsborough were the rock stars of the period, the go-to portraitists for high society, i.e., those aristocrats who comprised the ton.

      It was difficult to compete in the same arena as those two artistic giants.  George Romney tried, and he did have his followers, but no one at that time was to equal the fame of Reynolds or Gainsborough, fame that endures to the present day. One critic opined that Zoffany was perhaps too German, too peripatetic, and too mercurial, to be taken seriously. Strange comments, but there might be something there. The German artists had their own clique within the RA clique, and Zoffany was definitely a wanderer who spent a lot of time away, from Germany to England, to Italy (a lot of time in Florence), to India, then back again to England. Some Georgian artists never left England, or, if they did go to Italy to study art, did so not more than once.  Zoffany was all over the place.  Peripatetic, indeed.

      And the “mercurial” comment… I think it implies that there was more to him than one suspected.  Like quicksilver, he was hard to pin down, more in his personal life, perhaps, than in his painting life. That is, just when you thought you knew him…he was not what he seemed. This can confuse critics, as it certainly did me.

      The Impey Family, India, circa 1783
      Worse than the fate of the male artists who tried to compete were the many excellent female artists of the day, who fell through the proverbial cracks and are still little known – if not entirely unknown — to historians. There were thousands of good artists in Britain, a good number of whom had trained on the continent (Italy, in particular), but not all made money; some were quite destitute. Painters not that successful competing in London who were intent on increasing their fortunes went on to pursue commissions in India, working for the nabobs (also spelled nawabs), the British and European traders who’d become millionaires, and the Indian princely classes. Zoffany, in fact, lived in Lucknow, India, for about two years at the same time his friend and colleague the miniaturist Ozias Humphry went there, residing within a wide circle of European nawabs. In all, his stay in India totaled some five years.

      Of the Impey family group portrait above, Judith Flanders commented in her recent Seven magazine review:

                  “In India he shows us a world where the Victorian stratification of society into ‘European’ and ‘native’ remain in the future, and images such as The Impey Family show how Indian and British cultures intermixed, as the small Impey daughter, in Indian dress, dances barefoot to the accompaniment of Indian musicians, applauded by her watching father. In other paintings European sitters clutch hookahs, or weave Indian fabrics into their headdresses. It is always through these objects, through their possessions, that   Zoffany’s sitters speak, to their own world and to ours today.”

      The Gore Family, circa 1775

      If Zoffany is known at all, it is for paintings like this, of royals and wealthy families.  His canvases are filled with figures – and he is a nonpareil figurative painter – but gazing upon one too many of these works – dubbed conversazione, or “conversation pieces”, aka informal group portraits — can become yawn-inducing. Above are the six members of the amateur musical Gore family and the professional musician family, the Sharps (I swear, that is actually their surname, Sharp), below, set pieces showing both families’ most treasured possessions, their musical instruments.

      The Sharp Family on the Thames, circa 1779-1781

      Critics have dubbed Zoffany a m
      aster of this painting type, a genre that developed on the continent and came to Britain in the first decades of the 18th century.  These set “conversation pieces” have their admirers and detractors but no one can deny that these paintings are not technically well painted, the work of a master painter skilled in group portraiture.

      He also painted individual portraits of King George III and of Queen Charlotte (flattering both of them immensely), portraits which are not terribly memorable (see below), and tend towards (as one critic put it) the “homey”:

      King George III could not be more relaxed in this portrait, legs splayed, arms relaxed. Queen Charlotte could have been flattered a bit more by the artist in her portrait; alas, she was not a handsome woman. Below is a delightful group portrait showing the queen with some of her children, her brothers, and a nursemaid hovering in the background, also tending to the “homey,” again, not terribly exciting, but competently executed.

      Part Two Coming Soon!