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ENGLISh 
SOCIETY 

OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 
IN CONTEMPORARY ART 

RANDALL DAVIES.F.SA. 




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ENGLISH SOCIETY 

OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 
IN CONTEMPORARY ART 



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CHARLOTTE WITH THE I'RINVKSS ROYAL, AND THK DUCIIKSS OK ANCASTKK 



i \Vater-cohiir Drawing by l-'raihis Co/fs. A'.. I. 




ENGLISH SOCIETY 

OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 
IN CONTEMPORARY ART 



BY 



RANDALL DAVIES, F.S.A, 

AUTHOR OF "CHELSEA OLD CHURCH," &c. 




LONDON 

SEELEY AND CO. LIMITED, GREAT RUSSELL STREET 
NEW YORK : E. P. DUTTON & CO. 

1907 



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Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. 
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 



PREFACE 



APART from any question of sentiment, that may sanctify one age 
or execrate another, the Eighteenth Century is a period that is 
exceptionally interesting to glance over in search of illustrations of 
Society in this country. For, as it happens, it is a period of 
continuous development in the art of painting ; from a time, that 
is to say, when there was practically no English painting at all, till 
the arrival of Hogarth and his minor contemporaries ; from him to 
the great age of Reynolds and Gainsborough ; and though after 
these two nothing greater could be expected, yet in the close of the 
century, when their influence was still paramount, and when the 
wider diffusion of artistic influences that followed on the establish- 
ment of the Royal Academy was giving a stimulus to almost every 
kind of art, it can hardly be said that there was any retrogression. 

At the same time, the choice of illustrations for a subject of 
this sort must necessarily prove to be a matter of some little 
difficulty ; for while our public galleries are confined to exhibiting 
only works of the first importance, the minor pictures, from which 
the bulk of the selection would naturally be made, are mostly in 
country houses, and not easily available for reproduction. But the 
reader will, I hope, so far appreciate the series here given as to 
share the gratitude I feel for the kindness of both owners and 
custodians in helping me to make it so full of interest and variety. 
To others, also, whom I have invoked and " found such fair assist- 
ance," I wish to acknowledge myself most gratefully indebted. 

R. D. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

THE AUGUSTAN AGE . i 



CHAPTER II 

HOGARTH AND His TIMES ...... 20 

CHAPTER III 

THE INFLUENCE OF REYNOLDS AND GAINSBOROUGH . . 40 

CHAPTER IV 

THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURY . . . . -59 

INDEX .77 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PRINTED IN COLOURS 

PAGE 

QUEEN CHARLOTTE WITH THE PRINCESS ROYAL AND THE DUCHESS OF ANCASTER. From a 

Water-colour Drawing by Francis Cotes, R.A. (British Museum) Frontispiece . 
AUTHOR READING FROM A MANUSCRIPT TO FOUR LADIES. From a Water-colour Drawing 

by M. Haughton. (Randall Davies) 48 

CARLISLE HOUSE. From a Drawing in Chalks by J. Raphael Smith. (Victoria and 

Albert Museum) 56 

BUCKINGHAM HOUSE. From a Water-colour Drawing by Edward Dayes. (Victoria 

and Albert Museum) . 62 

PRINTED IN MONOCHROME 

A PINCH OF SNUFF. From a Pencil Drawing by Marcellus Laroon. (British Museum) 6 
THE DUCHESS OF ORMOND. From a Mezzotint by John Smith after the Painting by 

Kneller 14 

MARIAGE A LA MODE SHORTLY AFTER MARRIAGE. By W. Hogarth. (National 

Gallery.) From a Photograph by F. Hanfstaengl ...... 20 

THE WANSTEAD ASSEMBLY. By W. Hogarth. (South London Art Gallery) . . 22 

GUSTAVUS VISCOUNT BOYNE. From the Painting by Hogarth. (Viscount Boyne) . 24 

THE ENRAGED HUSBAND. From a Drawing by Joseph Highmore. (British Museum) 26 
ILLUSTRATION TO " PAMELA." From an Engraving by Benoist after the Painting by 

Joseph Highmore 28 

ILLUSTRATION TO " PAMELA." From an Engraving by L. Truchy after the Painting by 

Joseph Highmore ............ 28 

VAUXHALL. From an Engraving after T. Rowlandson. (G. Harland Peck, Esq.) . 30 

TASTE A LA MODE, 1745. From an Engraving after Boitard 32 

MASQUERADE AT RANELAGH GARDENS, APRIL 26, 1749. From an Engraving after 

Boitard .............. 32 

THE DUKE OF MONTAGU'S WEDDING. From the Painting by Marcellus Laroon . 34 

CONCERT AT MONTAGU HOUSE. From a Drawing by Marcellus Laroon. (British Museum) 34 
Two ILLUSTRATIONS TO " PAMELA." From Drawings by H. F. Gravelot. (British 

Museum) 36 

A FAMILY PARTY. From a Drawing by Philip Mercier. (British Museum) . 38 

THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF 1787. From an Engraving by P. A. Martini after Ramberg 42 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PAGE 



THE ELIOT FAMILY. By Sir Joshua Reynolds. From a Water-colour version in the 

possession of G. Harland Peck, Esq 46 

GREENWICH HILL. From a Print dated 1761. (Grace Collection, British Museum) 50 
CHILDREN OF THOMAS MILWARD. From the Painting by J. Russell . . .52 

THE BOOK SHOP. From a Drawing by J. Raphael Smith. (British Museum) . 54 

Two GENTLEMEN. From a Drawing by Zoffany. (Victoria and Albert Museum) . 54 
A WINDY DAY. From a Water-colour Drawing by R. Dighton. (Victoria and Albert 

Museum) . 60 

A FAMILY GROUP. From a Drawing for the Picture at Shardeloes by J. H. Mortimer. 

(Randall Davies) 64 

CHILDREN OF FRANCIS SITWELL, ESQ. From the Painting by J. S. Copley. (Sir George 

Sitwell, Bart.) 66 

A FAMILY GROUP. From a Silhouette by Thonard. (Sir George Sitwell, Bart.) . 68 
CHILDREN OF GEORGE III. By J. S. Copley. (Buckingham Palace.) From a Photo- 
graph by W. E. Gray 70 

A FAMILY GROUP. From the Painting by Zoffany. (Lord Sherborne) ... 72 

A FAMILY PARTY. From the Painting by Zoffany. (Countess Cowper) ... 72 

CRICKET. From an Engraving by Benoist after the Painting by F. Hayman ... 72 

SKATING. From a Print after the Painting by J. C. Ibbetson .... 72 

A COUNTRY RACE-COURSE. From an Engraving by W. Mason .... 72 
THE FAMILY OF JOSIAH WEDGWOOD. From the Painting by George Stubbs. (Cecil 

Wedgwood, Esq.) 74 

SPRING GARDENS. From a Water-colour Drawing by T. Rowlandson. (G. Harland 

Peck, Esq.) 74 



English Society of the Eighteenth Century 
in Contemporary Art 



CHAPTER I 
THE AUGUSTAN AGE 

THAT Society flourished in England under Queen Anne and King- 
George I. is abundantly proved by contemporary records, but they 
are not those of the brush ; and while our impressions of France 
during the same period are coloured by the exquisite fancies of 
Watteau, Lancret, and Pater, it is to books and letters that we 
owe our knowledge of nearly all that was going on in England. 
Tradition, it is true, has lent a tinge of colour to the black and 
white of history in picturing Queen Anne sitting in the sun ; but 
no painter has preserved the incident or was it habit ? in one of 
those matchless Fetes Galantes that were so freely and enchantingly 
being painted in France across the Channel ; and it is only in imagi- 
nation, tinged perhaps with sentiment, that we are permitted to think 
of her as other than a very prosaic and matter-of-fact lady. Had 
Watteau (who actually did visit England) found favour with Princes, 
and left us richer for one or two pictures of them, what a different 
impression we might now enjoy in recalling the glories of that 
Augustan age ! At Hampton Court, perhaps, he might have caught 
them, in the full bloom of the chestnuts then but lately planted, 
and shown us the last of the Stuarts linked hand in hand with the 
fair Jennings, and surrounded by Swift, Addison, Harley, and Steele, 
all in the loosest and lightest of silks, listening to Marlborough 
playing a lute ; but, as it is, we have nothing better than the sort of 
art that may be seen in a couple of minor pictures at Kensington 



2 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

Palace, the one a formal and stilted representation of the Queen 
addressing the House of Lords, with the then all-powerful Sarah 
standing behind her, painted by Peter Tillemans ; the other a slightly 
more interesting piece by Peter Angelis, of an installation of four 
Knights of the Garter in 1713. 

In the latter there is something like an attempt at a picture, for 
Angelis (or Angillis, as it ought to be), who was a native of Dunkirk, 
but worked in England long enough to be noticed by Walpole, had 
a certain vogue as a painter of landscapes in which figures were 
introduced, though the present example hardly justifies Walpole's 
statement that his manner was a mixture of Teniers and Watteau, 
with more grace than the former and more nature than the latter. 
It is interesting, however, as containing portraits not only of the 
Queen, but of four such prominent and doughty knights as Harley, 
Earl of Oxford ; Henry Grey, Duke of Kent ; Charles Mordaunt, 
Earl of Peterborough ; and John, Earl Poulett, all of whom were 
considerable figures in their time. 

France, however, was then possessed of all that was really rare 
and beautiful in painting ; but she was also singing to her children 
"Marlbrook sen va-fen guerre!" and could spare but little of her 
artistic wealth for the English, who, for their part, were far too much 
occupied in reading "The Conduct of the Allies," and in preening 
themselves upon the Protestant succession, to care very much for the 
fine arts. 

At the same time there seems to have been a vogue, at least 
among the fine ladies, for la mode Fran$aise, in this as in every other 
age of which any records exist of English Society. In the matter 
of dress and fashion it was never beneath British dignity to learn 
from their cultured though hereditary enemies ; and one of the earliest 
satirical prints of this century, published in 1707, when Europe 
was still ringing with Marlborough's victories, exposes this weakness, 
among others, with startling candour. These so-called satirical prints, 
of which some thousands are catalogued in the collections at the 
British Museum, are by no means the least interesting source of 
information about any period ; and in the absence of anything of 
artistic importance at this particular time, it is worth while to glance 



THE AUGUSTAN <AGE 3 

at a few examples. Most of them may be referred to some particular 
event or topic, such as the South Sea Bubble, Dr. Sacheverell, or 
the Hell Fire Clubs ; but there are some that are general in their 
application, and, without attaching too much weight to them, we may 
get some sharp hints on men and manners from these crude and 
outspoken publications. The one in question, for instance, is so 
sweeping an indictment of a period which we are used to call 
Augustan, that even its title leaves us breathless " The Ass Age, 
or the world in Hieroglyphick, an amusement greatly resembling the 
Humours of the Present Time." Its range is wide, and the repre- 
sentations of various social units all mounted on asses are fully 
explained in verse. A few of the couplets on the lady of quality will 
show the sort of thing aimed at, even if (to the cynic) they do not 
seem to differentiate this particular epoch from any other: 

" Her Ladyship may next the ass engage 
Mounted with all her modish equipage : 
Pride and new fashions are her daily prayers, 
And all must come from France that e'er she wears. 
Nothing but what is foreign must be seen ; 
Her talk is French, her very air and mien, 
With French cold-tea to cure her of the spleen. 
Her page and monkey, too, from France must come, 
For she despises everything at home ; 
Nor had she yielded with such complaisance 
To ride, but that she thought the ass might come from France ! 
With Pride incurable e'en let her sit, 
Nothing, unless the ass, can teach her wit." 

Another, probably published a year or two later, is " The Tea 
Table," to which an interminable length of doggerel is subjoined. " The 
Coffehous Mob " is the title of a third that forms the frontispiece to a 
volume called " Vulgus Brittanicus, or the British Hudibras," which 
was published in 1710, the author being the somewhat notorious 
Ned Ward. 

" The Diabolical Masquerade, or the Dragon Feast, as acted by the 
Hell Fire Club at Somerset House in the Strand," is a subject that 
might easily be put aside as beyond the limits of fact or even pro- 
bability the scene is a debauch in which a party seated at table are 
disguised as Pluto, Proserpine, and various animals and demons were 



4 ENGLISH SOCIETr OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

it not for an order of the Privy Council which was advertised in all the 
newspapers (April 28, 1721) "for the suppression of the blasphemous 
societies called Hell Fire Clubs." It appears to be a fact that there 
were no less than three of these clubs or societies existing in London, 
to which upwards of forty persons of quality of both sexes belonged, 
and there even exists a picture, belonging to Sir Compton Domvile, 
which is actually inscribed " The Hell Fire Club," and is a por- 
trait of Lord Santry and four of his companions in this curious 
phase of social excitement. 

There are plenty of other sources, too, from which it may be 
gathered that the reigns of Queen Anne and her successor were not 
all that the fairest fancies have painted them ; and while the names 
of Addison and Steele are the first to occur to any well-regulated 
mind as those of the representative men of the time, there is Defoe 
to be reckoned with ; and there is also Mrs. Manley, as Steele, 
indeed, found for himself. The " New Atalantis " an island very 
remote from Bacon's with one syllable less was peopled by an 
aristocracy with such romantic histories that it is much to be regretted 
that it was never illustrated. Mrs. Haywood's " Utopia," too, 
which again must not be confused with Sir Thomas More's would 
have been a good subject for any contemporary pencil. 

As for painters of portraits, the only one of any note in Queen 
Anne's reign was, of course, Sir Godfrey Kneller ; and he was 
already past his prime ; or, as Walpole puts it, was lessened by his 
reputation as he chose to make it subservient to his fortune. 
" Had he lived in a country," says Walpole, " where his merit had 
been rewarded according to the worth of his productions, instead 
of the number, he might have shone in the roll of the greatest 
masters ; but he united the highest vanity with the most con- 
summate negligence of character at least, where he offered one 
picture to fame, he sacrificed twenty to lucre ; and he met with 
customers of so little judgment, that they were fond of being 
painted by a man who would gladly have disowned his works the 
moment they were paid for." 

At the present time indeed Kneller's reputation is very low, and 
the makers of a hundred popular or learned books on his more 



THE ^AUGUSTAN <AGE 5 

fashionable successors have not as yet received the encouragement 
necessary to produce even a line about him. That he prostituted 
his capabilities to making a fortune is of course notorious, and it 
is doubtless true that he himself said that history painting only 
revived the memory of the dead who could give him no testimony 
of their gratitude, but that when he painted the living he gained 
wherewithal to live from their bounty. So great is the number of 
his inferior portraits, in fact, of which he scarcely more than 
touched the faces, that it is no wonder he is neglected, and the 
fact that he was a pupil of Rembrandt, and a very capable one, 
forgotten. Walpole, to be sure, while none too sparing of his 
censure, throws as much of his blame on the age in which he 

' D 

lived as on the painter himself. " His airs of heads have extreme 
grace," he says, " the hair admirably disposed, and if the locks seem 
unnaturally elevated, it must be considered as an instance of the 
painter's art. He painted in an age when the women erected 
edifices of three storeys on their heads. Had he represented such 
preposterous attire, in half a century his works would have been 
ridiculous. To lower their dress to a natural level when the eye 
was accustomed to pyramids would have shocked their prejudices 
and diminished the resemblance. He took a middle way, and 
weighed out ornament to them of more natural materials. Still it 
must be owed there is too great a sameness in his airs, and no 
imagination at all in his compositions. See but a head, it interests 
you uncover the rest of the canvas, and you wonder faces so 
expressive could be employed so insipidly. In truth, the age 
demanded nothing correct, nothing complete." 

Of the lesser lights one or two are worth mentioning, if only 
to prove the bare existence of any sort of painting at this period. 
Boit, for instance, whose father was a Frenchman, and who was 
born at Stockholm, came to England to practise his trade of 
jeweller ; but his ill success drove him to teaching children in the 
country to draw. In this profession he established the precedent of 
falling in love with one of his pupils, and the affair being dis- 
covered he had engaged her to marry him he was thrown into 
prison. In that confinement, says Walpole, which lasted two years, 



6 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

he studied enamelling, an art to which he fixed on his return to 
London, and practised with the greatest success. The prices he 
obtained were extraordinary, thirty guineas for a copy of Seymour's 
picture by Kneller, sixty for a lady's head, and for a few plates 500. 

His principal achievement, however, was in obtaining an advance 
of no less than 1700 for the execution of a plate of but 24 x 1 8 
inches representing the Queen, Prince George, the principal officers 
and ladies of the Court, and Victory introducing the Duke of Marl- 
borough and Prince Eugene ; France and Bavaria prostrate on the 
ground, amidst standards, arms, and trophies. The design was painted 
by Laguerre in oils, and Boit erected a furnace and workshops in 
Mayfair, and commenced operations. His difficulties retarded the 
work so long that before it was nearly completed Prince George, 
who had done most to encourage it, died. This put a stop to the 
work for some time, " during which happened the revolution at 
Court, extending itself even to Boit's work. Their Graces of Marl- 
borough were to be displaced even in the enamel, and her Majesty 
ordered Boit to introduce Peace and Ormond instead of Victory 
and Churchill. These alterations were made in the sketch which 
had not been in the fire . . . Prince Eugene refused to sit. The 
Queen died. Boit ran into debt, his goods were seized by execution, 
and he fled to France ; where he changed his religion, was counten- 
anced by the Regent, obtained a pension of .280 per annum and 
an apartment, and was much admired in a country where they had 
seen no enameller since Petitot. . ." 

Walpole also mentions one or two other plates of Boit's, amongst 
which was one at Kensington of a considerable size, representing 
Queen Anne sitting and Prince George standing by her. 

Another interesting, though not particularly important artist, 
who settled in England in the latter years of the seventeenth 
century and lived to see the commencement of the eighteenth, was 
Marcellus Lauron better known, so far as he can be said to be 
known at all, as Old Laroon, as he was father to another Marcellus 
of whom I shall have more to say presently. He was born at the 
Hague in 1653, and came to England early in life, and found 
employment under Kneller, for whom he painted the draperies of 



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A I'INCH (K SNUKK. 1-rom a pencil d> arming by Marcellus Laroon. British Museum. 



THE AUGUSTAN <^GE 7 

his innumerable portraits. His claim to be mentioned in the present 
chapter rests on his designs for the seventy-four plates engraved 
by Tempest, and published in 1711, usually known as "Tempest's 
London Cries." As Laroon died in 1702 the day after King 
William these figures barely come into our century ; but they are 
near enough and certainly of sufficient interest to justify their 
inclusion, though not distinguished for any particular beauty or 
artistic force as engraved by Tempest. Of the seventy-four plates, 
about sixty are "Cries," the rest being characters. Of the "Cries," 
most are merely the minor commodities of everyday life, such as 
brooms, pots, baskets, and eatables, among which is a remarkable 
plenty of all sorts of fish ; a few of them, however, are strange 
enough to be noticed, if only for the lilt of them 

Pretty maids, pretty pins, pretty women. 

A bed mat or a door mat. 

Lily white vinegar threepence a quart. 

Twelve pence a peck oysters. 

Old shoes for some brooms. 

Hot baked wardens hot (Warden pears). 

Colly Molly Puff (pastry). 

Any old iron, take money for. 

Buy a white line, a jack line, a clothes line. 

Why some things should still be cried in the streets and others be 
only obtainable in shops would require a good deal of explanation ; 
and that brings us to consider how much the everyday life of a 
subject of Queen Anne really differed from our own. A couple 
of centuries seems a long time, but it is not really so long as it 
sounds, and if any of us were suddenly asked what differences we 
thought there probably were between the social life of the Romans 
in 100 B.C., and in 100 A.D., we should probably say, none at all. 
Some amusing descriptions of English society are given in the 
letters of a Swiss gentleman, Mons. Cesar de Saussure, who visited 
England in 1725, and again a little later, which will enable us to 
test the truth of this. These have recently been published, in 
English, by Mr. John Murray, and, though of no particular im- 
portance in themselves, are well worth reading, if only to find how 
very little some of our ordinary manners and customs have changed 



ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

in a century and three-quarters. In fact, it has been questioned 
whether the letters are altogether genuine, and it is not difficult 
to see why ; for one is often assailed by the suspicion that some 
modern Gulliver is slyly poking fun at his readers, in such passages, 
for instance, as the description of cricket : " The English are very 
fond of a game called cricket. For this purpose they go into a 
large open field and knock a small ball about with a piece of wood. 
I will not attempt to describe the game to you ; it is too complicated ; 
but it requires agility and skill, and every one plays it, the common 
people and also men of rank. Sometimes one county plays against 
another county. The papers give notice of these meetings before- 
hand and, later, tell you which side has come off victorious. Specta- 
tors crowd to these games when they are important." 

Translation has no doubt invested a description of this sort with 
a somewhat remarkable air of modernity, and there are other passages 
which, though doubtless genuine enough, seem to have been some- 
what freely translated for modern readers. " The populace has 
other amusements, and very rude ones ; such as throwing dead 
dogs and cats and mud at passers-by on certain festival days. 
Another amusement which is very inconvenient to passers-by is 
football. For this game a leather ball filled with air is used, and is 
kicked about with the feet. In cold weather you sometimes see a 
score of rascals in the streets kicking at a ball, and they will break 
panes of glass and smash the windows of coaches, and also knock 
you down without the slightest compunction ; on the contrary, they 
will roar with laughter." 

The fact of the matter is that the character of a nation is not 
seriously modified by altered conditions and what are called improve- 
ments in the social life. Superficially, of course, the modification is 
proportionate to the improvement, and the institution of the police 
force alone has entirely changed the condition of the streets during 
the last century or so. But were the police disbanded to-morrow, 
the next day would find the old conditions obtaining. A London 
house of half a century ago was in every way the same as those 
built in the reign of Queen Anne, and even the invention of iron 
girders, telephones, and bath-rooms has hardly altered them now 



THE ^UGUSrAN *AGE 9 

except when they are flats. But let us hear a little more from 
De Saussure. 

The path, he observes of the Mall, is every spring bestrewn with 
tiny sea-shells which are then crushed by means of a heavy roller. 
Society comes to walk here on fine warm days from seven to ten in 
the evening, and in winter from one to three o'clock. English men 
and women are fond of walking, and the park is so crowded at times 
that you cannot help touching your neighbour. Some people come 
to see, some to be seen, and others to seek their fortunes. In those 
days the Thames was also a favourite resort, and De Saussure is amused 
at the conversations there on fine summer evenings ; for it is the 
custom, he tells, for any one on the water to call out whatever he 
pleases to other occupants of boats, even were it to the King himself, 
and no one has a right to be shocked. Dr. Johnson, we know, availed 
himself of this privilege when assailed by the waterman, and De 
Saussure gives a curious instance of how a Queen might be maligned 
by the vulgar, even in those days, when the august Anne was often 
called " Brandy-bottle," on account of a supposed weakness for 
spirits. He also noted that amusing but now quite forgotten float- 
ing pleasure resort called The Folly, which was a large boat moored 
near Somerset House, in which there was a band of musicians, 
playing to water nymphs who ate and drank with Tritons and 
other sea divinities who went to visit them. 

The sanctuary of fashion, however, seems to have been what 
De Saussure calls " The Ring," in Hyde Park, which he describes 
as a round place two or three hundred feet in diameter, shut in by 
railings, and surrounded by fine trees. Here, on Sundays during 
the warm season, between five and six o'clock, the fine ladies and 
gentlemen came and drove slowly round in order to see and to 
be seen, there being sometimes as many as one or two hundred 
chariots. Of the fine ladies, and in fact of all English ladies, 
whether fine or not, the gallant visitor has a great deal to say, and 
I fancy that at least a fair proportion of my readers will consider 
it worth listening to. 

" You are aware, I know," he writes, " that the women of this 
country are said to be beautiful, and I must own that it is the truth, 



io ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

and they are so more especially in the country. Nothing can be 
more charming and attractive than these country girls. Their com- 
plexions are like lilies and roses; they have a look of health that 
entrances you ; and their manners are artless, simple, and modest. . . . 
You do not see many beautiful women in London Society, and at 
Court I remarked only four or five who could pass muster. . . . 
Most English women are fair and have pink and white complexions, 
soft though not expressive eyes, and slim, pretty figures, of which they 
are very proud and take great care, for in the morning, as soon as 
they rise, they don a sort of bodice which encircles their waists tightly. 
Their shoulders and throats are generally fine. They are fond of 
ornaments, and old and young alike wear four or five patches, and 
always two large ones on the forehead. Few women curl or powder 
their hair, and they seldom wear ribbons, feathers, or flowers, but 
little headdresses of cambric or of magnificent lace on their pretty, 
well-kept hair. They pride themselves on their neatly shod feet, 
on their fine linen, and on their gowns, which are made according 
to the season either of rich silk or of cotton from the Indies. Very 
few women wear woollen gowns. Even servant maids wear silks on 
Sundays and holidays, when they are almost as well dressed as their 
mistresses. Gowns have enormous hoops, short and very wide sleeves, 
and it is the fashion to wear little mantles of scarlet or of black velvet 
and small hats of straw that are vastly becoming. Ladies even of 
the highest rank are thus attired when they go walking or to make 
a simple visit. English women and men are very clean ; not a day 
passes by without their washing their hands, faces, necks and throats 
in cold water, and that in winter as well as in summer. 

" I must now give you my experience of the character of English 
women. I find them gentle, frank, and artless, and they do not try 
to conceal their sentiments and passions. Generally speaking they 
are not coquettish, they do not simper affectedly, nor do they make 
a show of displeasing, bold airs. On the contrary their modest 
demeanour charms you, and they soon lose their timidity, and will 
banter with you. They are rather lazy, and few do any needle- 
work, but spend their time eating or walking, and going to the 
play or assemblies, where games are played." English women are 



THE ^AUGUSTAN *AGE n 

tender-hearted (he further observes), and capable of great resolution 
to show their love, which is the cause of many ill-assorted marriages ; 
but neither husbands nor wives in these cases are jealous. 

That we should have to turn to books for all our ideas of what 
Society was in these days, without any sort of illustration to guide 
us except the portraits of its more noticeable units, is the more 
regrettable when we think of how much the old Dutch painters, for 
instance, have recorded of their everyday life. But it is comforting 
to reflect that of all the life-like characters depicted in these match- 
less Dutch pictures, there were hardly any who were sufficiently dis- 
tinguished to excite any curiosity as to who they were or what they 
did, while in England the reign of Queen Anne was " so illustrated 
by heroes, poets, and authors," that there is something almost 
ungracious in even commenting on the non-existence of a school of 
painting. 

"We are now arrived," says Walpole of George I.'s reign, "at 
the period in which the arts were sunk to the lowest ebb in Britain. 
. . . Sir Godfrey Kneller still lived, but only in name, which he 
prostituted by suffering the most wretched daubings of hired sub- 
stitutes to pass for his works, while at most he gave himself the 
trouble of taking the likeness of the persons who sat to him. His 
bold and free manner was the sole admiration of his successors, who 
thought they had caught his style, when they neglected drawing, 
probability, and finishing. . . . The habits of the time were shrunk 
to awkward coats and waistcoats for the men ; and for the women, 
to tight-laced gowns, round hoops, and half-a-dozen squeezed plaits 
of linen, to which dangled two unmeaning pendants, called lappets, 
not half covering the straight-drawn hair. . . . Linen, from what 
economy I know not, is seldom allowed in those portraits, even to 
the ladies, who lean carelessly on a bank, and play with a parrot 
they do not look at, under a tranquillity which ill accords with 
their seeming situation, the slightness of their vestment and the 
lankness of their hair having the appearance of their being just 
risen from the bath, and found none of their clothes to put on, but 
a loose gown." 

Of the work of Charles Jervas, who, after Kneller, had the 



12 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

greatest vogue as a portrait painter during the reign of George I., 
there is a fair example at the National Portrait Gallery Catherine 
Hyde, the beautiful and witty Duchess of Queensberry ; but the 
reader will possibly be more entertained by Walpole's amusing sketch 
of the artist than by the sight of any of his work. " Between the 
badness of the age's taste," he writes, " the dearth of good masters, 
and a fashionable reputation, Jervas sat at the top of his profession ; 
and his own vanity thought no encomium disproportionate to his 
merit. Yet he was defective in drawing, colouring, composition, and 
even in that most necessary, and perhaps most easy talent of a 
portrait painter, likeness. In general his pictures are a light flimsy 
kind of fan-painting as large as the life. Yet I have seen a few of 
his works highly coloured ; and it is certain that his copies of Carlo 
Maratti, whom most he studied and imitated, were extremely just, 
and scarce inferior to the originals. It is a well-known story of him 
that having succeeded happily in copying (he thought in surpassing) 
a picture of Titian, he looked at the one, then at the other, and 
then with parental complacency cried, ' Poor little Tit ! how he 
would stare ! ' But what will recommend the name of Jervas to 
inquisitive posterity was his intimacy with Pope, whom he instructed 
to draw and paint . . . and who has enshrined the feeble talents of 
the painter in the lucid amber of his glowing lines. The repeated 
name of Lady Bridgwater in that epistle was not the sole effect of 
chance, of the lady's charms, or of the conveniency of her name to 
the measure of the verse. Jervas had ventured to look on that fair 
one with more than a painter's eye ; so entirely did the lovely form 
possess his imagination, that many a homely dame was delighted to 
find her picture resemble Lady Bridgwater. Yet neither his pre- 
sumption nor his passion could extinguish his self-love. One day, 
as she was sitting to him, he ran over the beauties of her face with 
rapture ' But,' said he, * I cannot help telling your Ladyship that 
you have not a handsome ear.' ' No ! ' said Lady Bridgwater ; 
' pray, Mr. Jervas, what is a handsome ear ? ' He turned aside his 
cap and showed her his own . . . ' 

Swift's portrait had been painted by Jervas, which he appears to 
have rolled up and sent (or a copy of it) to " M. D.," as he tells 



THE ^AUGUSTAN ^GE 13 

her to treat it carefully and not hang it over the back of a chair. 
It is regrettable that his long journal to Stella contains so little 
that is actually descriptive of the brilliant society he moved in ; but 
the mere mention of dinners and assemblies and visits seems to 
have been enough for Stella, and we seldom get more than even a 
snapshot portrait of any of the characters. The following passages 
are perhaps worth quoting as relating to the matter in hand : 

" 1712. December 19. The Duchess of Ormond promised 
me her picture, and coming home to-night I found hers and 
the Duke's both in my chamber. Was not that a pretty civil 
surprise ? Yes, and they are in fine gilded frames, too. I am 
writing a letter to thank her, which I will send to-morrow 
morning. I'll tell her she is such a prude that she will not 
let so much as her picture be alone in a room with a man 
unless the Duke's be with it ; and so forth." 

" 1712-3. February 8. Lady Orkney has given me her 
picture ; a very fine original of Sir Godfrey Kneller's ; it is 
now amending. He has favoured her squint admirably and 
you know how I love a cast in the eye." 

"February 27. Did I tell you that I have a very fine 
picture of Lady Orkney, an original, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 
three-quarters length ? I have it now with a fine frame. Lord 
Bolingbroke and Lady Masham have promised to sit for me ; 
but I despair of Lord Treasurer ; only I hope he will give me 
a copy, and then I shall have all the pictures of those I really 
love here ; just half-a-dozen, only I'll make Lord Keeper give 
me his print in a frame." 

" 1713. April ii. I dined at Lord Treasurer's with his Satur- 
day company. We had ten at table, all lords but myself and 
the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Argyle went off at six, and 
was in very indifferent humour as usual. Duke of Ormond 
and Lord Bolingbroke were absent. Lord Treasurer showed 
us a small picture, enamelled work, and set in gold, worth 
about twenty pounds; a picture, I mean of the Queen, which 
she gave to the Duchess of Marlborough, set in diamonds. 



i 4 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

When the Duchess was leaving England, she took off all the 
diamonds and gave the picture to one Mrs. Higgins (an old 
intriguing woman, whom everybody knows), bidding her make 
the best of it she could. Lord Treasurer sent to Mrs. Higgins 
for the picture, and gave her a hundred pounds for it. Was 
ever such an ungrateful beast as the Duchess? Or did you 
ever hear such a story ? I suppose the Whigs will not believe 
it. Pray, try them. Takes off the diamonds and gives away 
the picture, to an insignificant woman, as a thing of no con- 
sequence : and gives it her to sell like a piece of old-fashioned 
plate ! Is she not a detestable slut ? " 

This picture of the Duke of Ormond occasioned an effusion 
from Matthew Prior that sounds hardly as complimentary to the 
artist as to his subject : 

" Out from the injured canvas, Kneller, strike 
These lines too faint : the picture is not like. 
Exalt thy thought ; and try thy toil again : 
Dreadful in arms on Landen's glorious plain 
Place Ormond's Duke : impendent in the air 
Let his keen sabre comet-like appear." &c. 

Swift has several notes of picture auctions in his correspondence 
with Stella, that throw a little light on the sort of interest that was 
taken in art at this time. " I sauntered about this morning (2 
January 1713), and went with Dr. Pratt to a picture auction, where 
I had like to be drawn in to buy a picture that I was fond of, but 
it seems was good for nothing. Pratt was there to buy some pictures 
for the Bishop of Clogher, who resolves to lay out ten pounds to 
furnish his house with curious pieces." On the 6th March next : 
" I was to-day at an auction of pictures with Pratt, and laid out two 
pound five shillings for a picture of Titian, and if it were a Titian 
it would be worth twice as many pounds. If I'm cheated, I'll part 
with it to Lord Masham ; if it be a bargain I'll keep it to myself. 
That's my conscience. But I made Pratt buy several pictures for 
Lord Masham. Pratt is a great virtuoso that way." A couple of 
days later he laid out another fourteen shillings whether on another 
Titian or not he does not say. Next day he was at another auction ; 



15 

"and a great auction it was. I made Lord Masham lay out forty 
pounds. There were pictures sold of twice as much value apiece." 
On the 25th March was another, where he met the Duke of Beaufort, 
and "the Bishop of Clogher has bought abundance of pictures, and 
Dr. Pratt has got him very good pennyworths." 

But though we have only snapshots of the realities of Society 
in his journal to Stella, Swift has woven a wonderfully elaborate 
composition out of its idiosyncrasies, in the " complete collection 
of genteel and ingenious conversation according to the most polite 
mode and method now used at Court, and in the best companies 
of England, in three dialogues," usually known by the short title 
of "Polite Conversations." These dialogues are pretended to be 
the satirist's epitome of the smart sayings he has noted down 
in his large table-book during a long period of years, put into 
the mouths of a small party of smart people spending a day 
together, and, although written with the tongue far into the cheek, 
they betray an unmistakable air of being as near an impression 
of the truth of things as it is possible for any sort of fiction to 
be. Swift is of course ridiculing the use of set phrases by rote, 
cliches, as substitutes for original conversation, and there is a 
strange familiarity about much of the repartee which, if he may 
be taken seriously for once, was all at least a hundred years old in 
his day. He claims that he has passed perhaps more time than any 
other man of his age and country in visits and assemblies, where 
the polite persons of both sexes distinguish themselves, and that he 
could not without much grief observe how frequently both gentlemen 
and ladies were at a loss for questions, answers, replies, and rejoinder ; 
that the conversation at Court, at public visiting days, and other 
places of general meeting, was often seen to fall and drop to nothing, 
like a fire without supply of fuel. Accordingly he devoted himself 
to classifying all the ingenious remarks he heard, and arranging 
them in the form of dialogues that might be an example for all 
to learn from. 

The argument of the dialogues, which outlines the whole of 
a fashionable day's occupation, is as follows : Lord Sparkish and 
Colonel Atwit meet in the morning upon the Mall ; Mr. Neverout 



1 6 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

joins them ; they all go to breakfast at Lady Smart's. Their 
conversation over their tea, after which they part, but my Lord 
and the two gentlemen are invited to dinner. Sir John Linger (a 
Derbyshire squire) is likewise invited, but comes late. The whole 
conversation at dinner, after which the ladies retire to their tea. 
The conversation of the ladies without the men, who are supposed 
to stay and drink a bottle ; but in some time go to the ladies and 
drink tea with them. The conversation there. After which a party 
at quadrille, until three in the morning ; but no conversation set down. 
They all take leave and go home. 

As for there being no conversation set down at cards, Swift con- 
fesses his disappointment that so universal and polite an entertainment 
had contributed so little to the enlargement of his work, as he had 
sat many hundred times with the utmost vigilance, and his table- 
book ready, without being able, in eight hours, to gather matter for 
so much as one single phrase. But to make up for this he has con- 
centrated on the pert Miss Notable evidently a very young and 
distracting lady and Mr. Neverout, who seem to have kept the 
company fairly alive with their sparkling repartee, a great part of 
which might almost be overheard nowadays in suburban villas or in 
a Bank Holiday excursion train. Neverout asks her to fill him a 
dish of tea, and she asks if he will have it now or stay till he gets 
it. A second time he asks : 

Miss. Pray, let your betters be served before you; I'm just going 
to fill one for myself: and you know the parson always christens his 
own child first. 

Nev. But I saw you fill one just now for the Colonel. Well, I 
find kissing goes by favour. 

Miss. Pray, Mr. Neverout, what lady was that you were talking 
with in the side box last Tuesday ? 

Nev. Miss Can you keep a secret ? 

Miss. Yes. I can. 

Nev. Well, Miss and so can I ! 

The Colonel and Lord Sparkish, too, have some pretty passages. 



I? 

Col. But, my Lord, I forgot to ask you how you like my new 
clothes. 

Lord S. Why, very well, Colonel ; only, to deal plainly with you, 
methinks the worst piece is in the middle. (Here a loud laugh^ oft 
repeated.} Pray, is Miss Buxom married? I hear 'tis all over the 
town. 

Col. If she be'nt married, at least she's lustily promised. But is 
it certain that Sir John Blunderbuss is dead at last ? 

Lord S. Yes, or else he's sadly wronged, for they have buried him. 

Nev. Pray, Miss, why do you sigh ? 

Miss. To make a fool ask, and you are the first. 

Nev. Well. I see one fool makes many. 

Miss. And you are the greatest fool of any. 

The Colonel spills his tea, and his hostess cheers him with the 
remark that it is as well done as if she had done it herself. But it 
is useless to quote any more it is all quotation, and the whole day's 
entertainment makes a very good afternoon's reading. 

These " Polite Conversations " were not published till some years 
after the close of the period we are now considering, though perhaps 
we may take their author's word seriously enough to believe that he 
had been collecting material for them for many years past. But there 
is another satirical picture of Society at the close of George I.'s reign 
shortly after the execution of Jonathan Wild that took such an 
extraordinary hold on the public of all classes, and so influenced the 
art and literature of the succeeding decade or so, that, in spite of its 
subject being one of low life, it forms an important link between 
this chapter and the next I mean " The Beggar's Opera." As this has 
not been performed now for nearly half a century, and as the present 
age is so taken up with what it is pleased to call " musical farce," 
it is perhaps worth calling to mind the outlines of this famous piece, 
that so roused the public interest in the humours of the criminal 
classes as exploited for satirical purposes. 

Peachum is the thieves' lawyer, and his daughter Polly furnishes 
the first development of the plot by letting out that she is married to 
Captain Macheath, the highwayman. Peachum questions her, and con- 



1 8 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

eludes by speaking his mind very plainly : " You know, Polly, I'm not 
against your toying and trifling with a customer in the way of business, 
or to get out a secret or so. But if I find out that you have play'd 
the fool and are married, you jade you, I'll cut your throat, hussy. 
Now you know my mind." Mrs. Peachum then bursts in or out 
"in a very great passion," with the following, set to the tune of 
" O London is a fine Town." 

" Our Polly is a sad slut ! nor heeds what we have taught her ; 
I wonder any man alive will ever rear a daughter !" &c. 

" I knew she was always a proud slut," she continues, " and now 
the wench hath played the fool and married, because forsooth 
she would do like the gentry. Can you support the expence of a 
husband, hussy, in drinking and gaming ? Have you money enough 
to carry on the daily quarrels of man and wife about who shall 
squander most ? If you must be married, could you introduce 
nobody into our family but a highwayman ? Why, thou foolish 
jade, thou wilt be as ill used and as much neglected as if thou hadst 
married a Lord ! " Peachum comes to the rescue with some very 
sage reflections. " Let not your anger, my dear, break through the 
rules of decency, for the Captain looks upon himself in the military 
capacity as a gentleman by profession. Besides what he hath already, 
I know he is in a fair way of getting [making money] or of dying ; 
and both these ways, let me tell you, are most excellent chances for 
a wife." Mrs. Peachum, however, is not so easily consoled. " With 
Polly's fortune," she says, " she might well have gone ofF to a person 
of distinction. Yes, that you might, you pouting slut ! . . . All 
the hopes of the family are gone for ever and ever ! " Polly, after 
a short ditty to the tune of " Grim King of the Ghosts," patheti- 
cally remarks, " I did not marry him (as 'tis the fashion) coolly and 
deliberately for honour or money. But, I love him." "Love him!" 
screams her mother, " worse and worse ! I thought the girl had been 
better bred. Oh husband, husband ! her folly makes me mad ! My 
head swims ! I'm distracted ! I can't support myself . . . Oh ! " 
(Faints.) The act closes with a charming love scene between Mac- 
heath and Polly, in which one of the ditties is, " Over the Hills 



THE AUGUSTAN ^fGE 19 

and far away," while another contains this simple yet captivating 

couplet : 

"Polly. Fondly let me loll. 

Macheath. O pretty, pretty Poll." 

Several of these old tunes survived and possibly still survive in 
old-fashioned houses in " The Lancers " ; as, for instance, " If the 
heart of a man is deprest by care," which was the regular music for 
the " Ladies in the middle " figure. 

In the next act, Macheath is " lagged," and the unfortunate Lucy 
Lockit, the jailor's daughter, comes on the scene, with reproaches for 
Macheath's perfidy. Polly afterwards joins them, giving occasion to 
Macheath's ever remembered 

" How happy could I be with either 
Were t' other dear charmer away ! 
But while you thus teaze me together, 
To neither a word will I say, 
But lol de rol," &c., 

which is shortly followed by Polly's " Cease your funning." 

In the third act the plot thickens, as it should, and ditties to 
the tunes of " Happy Groves," " Of all the girls that are so smart," 
" Britons, strike home," " Chevy Chase," " Joy to great Csesar," 
" Green Sleeves," and the like, follow in dazzling succession, till the 
curtain is rung down on " Lumps of Pudding." A chorus, consisting 
of a Beggar and a Player, then enter, and explain that poetical Justice 
must be done to make the piece perfect " Macheath is to be hanged ; 
and for the other personages of the drama, the audience must have 
supposed they were all either hanged or transported." But this was 
so fatal an objection that a general reprieve was ordered, and the 
conclusion of the whole matter was resolved thus by the Beggar 
. "Through the whole piece you may observe such a similitude of manners 
in high and low life that it is difficult to determine whether (in the 
fashionable vices) the fine gentlemen imitate the gentlemen of the road, 
or the gentlemen of the road the fine gentlemen. Had the play re- 
mained as at first intended, it would have carried a most excellent moral. 
'Twould have shown that the lower sort of people have their vices in 
a degree as well as the rich, and that they are punished for them." 

In the next chapter we shall see how this theme was worked out. 



CHAPTER II 

HOGARTH AND HIS TIMES 

THE extraordinary success of "The Beggar's Opera" seems almost, as 
I have already hinted, to have been the determining factor in the 
development of both art and literature during the next quarter of 
the century, a period that has somehow acquired the air of belonging 
almost exclusively to those two very brilliant but decidedly rough 
diamonds, Hogarth and Fielding. To pass from the age of The 
Spectator to the age of Reynolds is something like crossing the 
servants' quarters on one's way from the study to the drawing-room, 
and for the high-minded and fastidious the babble of loud and 
rather coarse voices is too much, and the general atmosphere too 
strong, to permit them to stay and make any acquaintance with the 
company whose quality and manners, it must be admitted, are hardly 
those of Sir Roger or Lord Chesterfield. That the passing-away of 
Addison and Steele or, for the matter of that, the execution of 
Jonathan Wild had any cataclysmal effect on the general tone of 
society, or that even its outward appearances underwent any con- 
siderable change at this particular time, need hardly be supposed ; 
it is merely that the individuality of Hogarth and Fielding was 
strong enough to dominate their period, and their brilliance to eclipse 
the lesser lights, just as the gentler spirits of Addison, Steele, and 
Pope illuminated the preceding period with a glow that even a fire- 
brand like Swift rarely outshone. 

What Hogarth's career would have Been but for his early success 
with "The Harlot's Progress," it is, of course, impossible to say; 
but, as it happened, that was the great turning point, and, before 
he was old or experienced enough to decide for himself whether he 
should remain an engraver of popular prints, or a painter of people's 
likenesses, decided for him that he was to be both, and a great deal 



HOGARTH ^ND HIS TIMES 21 

more besides. The success of " The Harlot's Progress " was pheno- 
menal. The familiarity of the subject (as Nichols observes), and the 
propriety of its execution made it tasted by all ranks of people, so 
that above twelve hundred names were entered in the subscription 
book. Gibber made a pantomime out of it, and somebody else a 
ballad opera, under the attractive title of " The Jew Decoyed." Its 
general popularity was increased by the fact, related by Nichols, 
that at a Board of Treasury held a day or two after the appearance 
of the third print, a copy of it was shown to one of the Lords as 
containing, among other excellences, a striking likeness of Sir John [ 
Gonson, the incomparable and learned magistrate who was so zealous 
and so eloquent in the suppression of this sort of iniquity. This 
gave universal satisfaction, and each Lord repaired from the Treasury 
to the print shop for a copy of it, and Hogarth rose completely 
into fame. Henceforth he was to be public moralist, an occupation 
which, if it did not dignify his art, ensured him at all events a 
great deal more attention than he would have ever attracted as a 
mere painter, whether of portraits or of subjects. 

Whether we look at Hogarth as the founder of a school of 
painting, or, in connection with the subject in hand, as simply a 
painter of contemporary Society, it is impossible not to admire his 
extraordinary independence and originality It is amusing enough 
to know that he was the inventor of the thumb-nail sketch, as is 
certified by Nichols on the information of a friend of his, who 
actually saw Hogarth, " being once with our painter at the Bedford 
Coffee House, draw something with a pencil on his nail. On 
inquiring what had been his employment, he was shown the coun- 
tenance (a whimsical one) of a person who was there at a small 
distance." But what is really worth considering is that, without 
any English precedents to work upon, he should have produced 
such surprisingly successful pictures of groups of figures engaged 
in action or conversation, while even more extraordinary is his 
brilliant idea of painting not one but a whole series of pictures, 
giving his characters life as only the theatre had done before him. 
Hogarth was always striking out on new tracks, and doing things 
that no one had done before. Even in his personal relations 



with uncongenial sitters he anticipated the moderns, and the follow- 
ing epistle has hardly been surpassed by any professor of the 
" gentle art." 

" Mr. Hogarth's dutiful respects to Lord ; finding that he 

does not mean to have the picture which was drawn for him, is 
informed again of Mr. H.'s necessity for the money ; if, therefore, his 
lordship does not send for the picture in three days it will be disposed 
of, with the addition of a tail, and some other little appendages, to 
Mr. Hare, the famous wild beast man ; Mr. H. having given that 
gentleman a conditional promise of it for an exhibition picture, on 
his Lordship's refusal." 

Hogarth was of course a realist, and it is fortunate that his reputa- 
tion was established before he attempted Sigismunda. Had he begun 
with Sigismunda, and found a few noble noodles to crack him up as 
a classical painter, no one can tell how lamentable the result would 
have been. At any rate we should have lost the Hogarth we have 
now, and we can hardly be too thankful that Kate Hackabout and 
Mother Needham occupied so prominent a place in the public eye 
as to ensure for our blunt Englishman the recognition which in 
a more artificial age would have been denied him. 

Of his sermons and satires, however, it is hardly necessary to say 
any more on this occasion, and we may turn at once to consider a 
minor and less familiar branch of his art, but one that is of special 
interest in relation to the society of his time, namely, the painting 
of "conversation pieces," as they were generally called. Instead of 
painting single portraits of different members of a family, he developed, 
if he did not originate, the fashion for depicting whole families not 
merely sitting in groups, but engaged in some natural occupation or 
" conversation " ; and besides Hogarth there is only one artist who has 
left us any considerable quantity of them, namely ZofFany. Hogarth, 
in fact, was an observer of Society rather than of individuals, and his 
forte was in dealing with humanity in everyday expressions of itself 
rather than in penetrating the characteristics of any single member of it 
as a unit. To Hogarth men and women were merely atoms in a 
universe, and their relation one to another concerned him far more 
than to attempt the dissection of any particular atom. To Hogarth 



HOGARTH vfND HIS TIMES 23 

the canvas was a stage on which men and women must speak and act, 
and not sit mute and motionless. To him a picture was the means of 
expressing some phase of life, not the mere rendering in paint of the 
likeness of a man ; and even in a single portrait, like that of John 
Broughton, his independence and originality carry him far away from 
his contemporaries. Here is a full-length portrait, but instead of Mr, 
Broughton being posed, in his best get-up, against a pillar, he is boldly 
taken walking at you, in undress, his stick raised in one hand, his hat 
in the other, notwithstanding he has no wig to cover his bare head. It 
is quite impudent, and quite successful. That Hogarth could equal 
his contemporaries in a more conventional portrait it is hardly fair to 
compare his work with that of his more accomplished successors is 
quite clear from such a picture as that of Lord Lovat, which as a 
soliloquy, on a bare stage without any setting, is as eloquent as any 
scene in his " Progresses." There sits the old fox ! 

It is not every one, however, who has as much in his face as old 
Simon Fraser, and there is no doubt that a family group of ordinary 
people is a more satisfactory way of expressing the life, if it can be 
decently done, than a series of single portraits. The thing is so 
obvious that it hardly needs talking about ; but yet when we come to 
look at the attempts that are occasionally made nowadays, what use do 
we find made of it ? With the exception of Mr. Sargent, there is 
hardly a painter of modern times who can put half as much life and 
expression into a group of figures as may be seen in any of Hogarth's, 
The family arc all in their best clothes, and look thoroughly strained 
and uncomfortable. They are seldom doing anything, except sitting 
for their portraits, and on the whole the photographer can produce just 
as good a result with a camera and a few persuasive words to each of 
his sitters in turn. This was not Hogarth's way. If he had a family 
to paint, he made them for the time being his own : he ordered them 
about, or, if he didn't, he knew exactly how to get them into their 
proper relations with one another without orders : if it was not 
composition, it was at least arrangement, and when it was not that, it 
was simply genius. 

Take, for instance, the picture of the Strode Family, which is now at 
the National Gallery, which Nichols calls a " Breakfast Piece." Here, 



24 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

on a small canvas, are portraits of William Strode, of Northaw in 
Hertfordshire ; his mother, Lady Anne, who was sister to Lord 
Salisbury, Colonel Strode, and Dr. Arthur Smith, afterwards Arch- 
bishop of Dublin. There are also two dogs, one of which, says 
Nichols, was Mr. Strode's, and the other (a pug) the Colonel's. 
Another group is that of the Woollaston Family, painted in 1730, 
which was lately exhibited by Messrs. D. & P. Colnaghi, but without 
their being at liberty to inform me whom it belonged to. Here there 
are two tables in a large room, one for tea and another for cards, 
and at each are grouped four or five figures, while the principal 
gentleman is standing talking between the two. 

But even more successful than these, and, as any of my readers 
who may recall the Exhibition of National Portraits in 1867 will 
probably agree, considerably more charming, is the picture of the 
Western family of Rivenhall, which Hogarth probably painted in 
1735. I n this, too, the scene is an interior, and the principal piece 
of furniture a tea-table or it may be a " breakfast " table, slightly 
to one side. In the centre is Mr. Western, a tall big man, who 
has evidently just entered the room and is standing, with a lady on 
his right side, holding in his left hand a dead partridge. Behind 
the tea-table is standing another lady, of very sparkling mien, who 
with a lively gesture plucks the gown of the chaplain, Mr. Hartell 
(who is sitting to her left talking to a man-servant), to call his 
attention to the bird, leaving the tea-things (and this is the prettiest 
touch) to the attention of a little wee girl, who is standing nearest 
to us, in front of the table, and is just tall enough to be peeping 
over the edge of it. 1 After this, the picture of Sir Andrew Foun- 
taine and his family seems a little flat, though it can hardly be 
considered inferior. The scene is a garden, and the motive is the 
display of a picture, which is held upright by Cocks the auctioneer, 
while it is examined closely by Sir Andrew and another man, two 
seated ladies regarding it from a distance. A smaller group, and 
one which compares in treatment with that of " Hogarth's Servants" 
at the National Gallery, is the four figures, of three-quarter-length, 

1 Nichols describes another group of the Western family which includes Hoadly and 
others. 





TIIK DUKK OK MONTAGU'S WEDDING. From the fain/ing by Marccllns I aroon. 



HOGARTH ^ND HIS TIMES 25 

of the Misses Weston, of Stallbridge in Dorsetshire. Here the effect 
is obtained by the characterisation of the faces of the four girls, 
there being little opportunity of grouping, and Hogarth shows him- 
self equally capable. The faces are full of life, and considerably 
more character than is often seen in the faces of a group of sisters. 

As a picture, however, by far the most vivid and impressive is 
the extraordinary portrait of Lord Boyne in the cabin of his yacht. 
It is thoroughly characteristic of Hogarth that he should paint a 
Peer as no one before or since has ever done ; that he should spurn 
the idea of coronet or robes, or of any state and pomp, and present 
his Lordship seated in a cabin, in undress, his hands resting on a 
stick, one leg crossed over the other, and his bare feet in slippers. 
Instead of making his maiden speech in the House, or driving Envy 
and Fraud from the councils of the nation, or doing any other of 
those things actual or allegorical which Peers are so fond of being 
found doing, Lord Boyne is paying the most natural attention to the 
skipper, who is showing him a chart ; and we have here, for once, 
a portrait in which we may learn something of the subject from the 
actual surroundings in which the painter saw him. The picture is 
skilfully composed ; the cabin is somewhat dark, but the light, 
striking from our left, catches the broad sheets of the chart, which 
is in the centre, and enough of the terrestrial globe across the room 
on our right to relieve a dark corner. A large round table occupies 
the centre of the cabin, Lord Boyne being seated in front of it, and 
the skipper reaching across it from behind, and there is room on it 
for a good-sized punchbowl (besides the charts), from which one of 
the two standing figures on our left has taken a cupful. Behind 
the skipper, on our right, is a fifth figure, with a short stick, which 
'is said to be a likeness of the artist. Under the table is seen a very 
Hogarthian cat. 

But Hogarth must not be allowed to monopolise this chapter. 
He has had ample justice done him of late, both by Sir Walter 
Armstrong and Mr. Austin Dobson, and there are some of his con- 
temporaries who are well worth becoming acquainted with, even if 
their voices are not so loud, nor their talents so dominating. Much 
as we admire Mr. Hogarth and his outspoken exposition of the 



26 ENGLISH SOCIETY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

morals of his time, we should like to know a little more of its 
manners ; and though we esteem him as the salt of the earth that 
portion of it in particular which men were getting prouder and 
prouder of calling England there is no reason why we should not 
be looking about for a little of the sugar. What we want is to 
make friends with a few of his contemporaries, brother artists, who 
will convince us in their own way that there is still something 
worth discovering in the work of this period besides Hogarth's, and 
that the population of these islands in his time (outside the charm- 
ing family circles he depicted) was not entirely composed of thieves 
and blackguards. 

Certainly there are others besides Hogarth, whose known work 

though not perhaps of first-rate importance is charming enough to 

make us hope that sooner or later a great deal more of it may be 

brought to light from the odd corners of old country houses, and 

may show us that there is really something worth staying to look 

at in the way of pictures in the passage from the Augustan age to 

Sir Joshua and his circle. To begin with, there is Sir Joshua's 

master, Hudson, though there is no need to say very much of his 

work on the present occasion, as his occupation was chiefly that of 

the conventional portrait painter, to whom people sat as a matter of 

course without feeling any of the thrill of being made a picture of 

by a great artist. He was the son-in-law of Jonathan Richardson, 

and successor to him and the fatuous Jervas as the fashionable 

portrait painter of his time, and I think I am right in saying that he 

did little besides single portraits. Vanloo, as Walpole observes, and 

Liotard, for a few years diverted the torrent of fashion from the 

established professor, but the county gentlemen were faithful to their 

compatriot, and were content with his honest similitudes and with 

the fair tied wigs, blue velvet coats, and white satin waistcoats, which 

he liberally bestowed on his customers, and which with complaisance 

they beheld multiplied in Faber's mezzotintos. The better taste 

introduced by Sir Joshua Reynolds (Walpole continues) put an end 

to Hudson's reign, who had the good sense to resign the throne 

soon after finishing his capital work, the family piece of Charles, 

Duke of Marlborough. 






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HOGARTH <AND HIS TIMES 27 

Joseph Highmore, who was bred for a lawyer, but studied paint- 
ing with some success, is a more promising subject, as he is said to 
have devoted himself particularly to family groups. Unfortunately 
his works are so little known that I am unable to lay hands on any 
example of a painting of this sort which is accessible for reproduction 
in this volume ; but the single drawing which the British Museum 
contains of his, goes some way to atone for the deficiency. This 
drawing, " The Enraged Husband," as it is called, is the slightest 
of pencil sketches, but it shows such force and such delicacy alike 
that one hardly regrets that it was carried no further. There is 
enough in its few strokes to convey with the most charming ease 
and certainty not only the nature of the scene at which we are 
onlookers, but the characters who are enacting it ; and the artist 
seems to have accomplished quite as much with his delicate pencil 
point as Hogarth with his bludgeon. One feels that the shape and 
hang of the lady's hoop and her easy contemptuous attitude as she 
feels in her purse, have quite as much to do with her lord's exaspera- 
tion as the state of the clock at which he is pointing, while the 
yawning maids and the huddling footmen, dimly outlined as they are, 
are far more useful in completing the effect than any of Hogarth's 
inanimate symbols and labels that he filled up his backgrounds with. 

Besides family pieces, however, Highmore is known to have 
painted a series of pictures illustrating scenes from " Pamela," which 
were engraved by L. Truchy and A. Benoist, and published on the 
1st July 1745. What has become of the pictures I have no idea, 
but the engravings, of which two are here reproduced, are enough 
to show that it would be well worth anybody's while to find them. 
It is so easy to believe that things are lost or destroyed merely 
because nobody one asks happens to know where they are, that I 
have the greatest hopes that this charming series is somewhere under 
our noses all the time, perhaps in the safe keeping of some trusty 
custodians whose last care about the treasures they are put to guard 
is that the public should see them. The Chardin pictures at Glasgow, 
for instance, which were shown at Whitechapel last Spring, were 
so entirely unknown, that I was fortunate enough to pick up an 
unnamed mezzotint of the largest of them for no more than three 



28 ENGLISH SOCJETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

francs in Paris the other day. The Soane Museum is open occasion- 
ally, and is sometimes visited by people from a distance who happen 
to strike the particular month, day, and hour of its being open. 
Pending their discovery, however, it is only fair to Highmore to 
reproduce a couple of the series in a work of this sort, and to quote 
the descriptions of them which are probably from his pen : 

" Pamela on her knees before her father, whom she had discovered 
behind the door, having overturned the card-table in her way. Sir 
Simon Darnford, his lady, &c., observing her with eagerness and 
admiration. Mr. B., struck with this scene, is waiting the issue. 

" Pamela with her children and Miss Goodwin, to whom she is telling 
her nursery tales. This last piece leaves her in full possession of the 
peaceable fruits of her virtue long after having surmounted all the 
difficulties it has been exposed to." 

No less interesting is the work of Francis Hayman, of which a 
good deal was engraved by Grignon and others. In his pictures, 
says Walpole, his colouring was raw, nor in any light did he attain 
excellence. But that his work was distinguishable by the large noses 
and shambling legs of his figures is a criticism for which Walpole 
may well be called to task, if Hayman is to be judged by the 
engravings after his Vauxhall pictures and his illustrations to Pope, 
Milton, and other editions of his period. These Vauxhall pictures, 
which were engraved by Grignon, Parr, Truchy, and others, and 
published in 1743, are a most charming and lively series, and afford 
us a very amusing view of the diversions of the homely classes at 
that time. These include Battledore and Shittlecock, Leapfrog, 
See-Saw, Stealing a Kiss, Quadrille (not the dance but a game of 
cards), The Fortune-Teller, Blind Man's Buff, and Building Houses 
with Cards ; and in most of them the personages are all graceful and 
attractive, especially the children in their quaint habits, while the 
grouping is admirable. 

Another of these Vauxhall pictures was the allegorical piece in 
commemoration of Hawke's victory in Quiberon Bay, in which a 
diversity of nymphs are swimming round a chariot, each holding 



HOGARTH ^ND HIS TIMES 29 

a medallion bearing the portrait of an Admiral. The nymphs are 
amusingly Hogarthian in feature, though in costume they are of 
an earlier epoch that of Eve and the naval heroes' countenances 
on the medallion make an effective contrast. It was this picture 
that occasioned the scene in " Evelina," where (at a later date than 
we are now speaking of) Mr. Smith, an art critic of a type that is 
by no means extinct in these present days, was so beautifully 
"smoked." Evelina relates how, to escape the importunities of Sir 
Clement, she turns towards one of the paintings, and, pretending to 
be very much occupied in looking at it, asks M. des Bois some 
questions concerning the figures. 

" O ! Mon Dieu ! " cried Madame Duval, " don't ask him ; your 
best way is to ask Mr. Smith, for he's been here the oftenest. 
Come, Mr. Smith, I daresay you can tell us all about them." 

" Why, yes, Ma'am, yes ! " said Mr. Smith, who, brightening up 
at the application, advanced toward us with an air of assumed 
importance, which, however, sat very uneasily upon him, and begged 
to know what he should explain first : " for I have attended," said 
he, "to all these paintings, and know everything in them perfectly 
well, for I am rather fond of pictures, Ma'am ; and really I must 
say, I think a pretty picture is a a very is really a very is 
something very pretty 

" So do I too," said Madame Duval ; " but pray now, Sir, tell 
us who that is meant for," pointing to a figure of Neptune. 

" That ! Why, that, Ma'am, is Lord bless me, I can't think 
how I come to be so stupid, but really I have forgot his name ; 
and yet I know it as well as my own too ; however he's a General, 
Ma'am, they are all Generals." 

I saw Sir Clement bite his lip ; and, indeed, so did I mine. 

"Well," said Madame Duval, "it's the oddest dress for a General 
ever I see ! " 

" He seems so capital a figure," said Sir Clement to Mr. Smith, 
" that I'm sure he must be the Generalissimo of the whole army." 

" Yes, sir, yes," answered Mr. Smith, respectfully bowing, and 
highly delighted at being thus referred to, " you are perfectly right ; 



30 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

but I cannot for my life think of his name ; perhaps, Sir, you 
may remember it ? " 

" No, really," replied Sir Clement, " my acquaintance among the 
generals is not so extensive." 

For over two centuries Vauxhall was London's most popular 
place of recreation, and its history from the time it was visited by 
Pepys, until in 1869 it made way for the Railway Station where 
tickets are taken, would fill a very large volume. In Mr. Wroth's 
recent book on " The Pleasure Gardens of London," there is only 
room for one short chapter upon it, so numerous were the gardens 
and wells all round London, whose names only now survive in some 
cases, while others are completely forgotten. Hockley-in-the-Hole 
and Baggnigge Wells were places of great resort, but how many 
inhabitants of London to-day could place them on the map ? while 
Islington and Marylebone have grown into such important parts of 
the metropolis that the idea of Pleasure Gardens has fled far from 
them. The last survival of this sort of place was Cremorne, which, 
after a chequered, though on the whole successful career of about 
half a century, was finally closed in 1875. 

It was in 1742 that Vauxhall at last had a serious rival Lord 
Ranelagh's grounds adjoining the Royal Hospital being turned into 
a place of public amusement. " Two nights ago," writes Walpole 
on the 26th May, " Ranelagh Gardens were opened at Chelsea; the 
Prince, Princess, Duke, and much nobility, and much mob besides, 
were there. There is a vast amphitheatre [better known as the 
Rotunda] finely gilt, painted, and illuminated, into which everybody 
that loves eating, drinking, staring, or crowding, is admitted for 
twelvepence. The building and disposition of the gardens cost sixteen 
thousand pounds. Twice a week there are to be rid ottos, at guinea- 
tickets, for which you are to have a supper and music. I was there 
last night [he adds] but did not find the joy of it. Vauxhall is a little 
better ; for the garden is pleasanter and one goes by water." 

Ranelagh, indeed, was a less joyous place than Vauxhall, even 
if it was occasionally more fashionable. Its chief attraction was the 
Rotunda, which gave it a more formal character than that of the 



HOGARTH <AND HIS TIMES 31 

secluded alleys and al fresco suppers of Vauxhall. At Ranelagh there 
was only tea and bread and butter, and the chief amusement, such 
as it was, was to promenade round and round the Rotunda. But 
there were great occasions, and perhaps the greatest of these was 
the Venetian Fe'te in 1749, an illustration of which is in existence. 
This print, which bears the name of Boitard, a spirited artist and 
engraver who contributed not a few examples of contemporary manners 
that are catalogued among the " Satirical Prints," is accompanied 
by a good deal of letterpress that is hardly in keeping with Boitard's 
representation of what was undoubtedly a most brilliant and successful 
entertainment. It is possible that those interested in Vauxhall may 
have had something to do with its publication, and intended to 
discredit these foreign innovations by pretending to be shocked at 
the Royal sanction being given to so frivolous an undertaking. If 
so, they should have chosen a less sympathetic draughtsman than 
Boitard, who has certainly been carried along by the lively crowd 
he depicts. With their poet they were more fortunate, for the 
satirical title, " By the King's Command," is followed by a dozen 
couplets or so that might have been written by a disappointed non- 
conformist who had not only had his pocket picked, but also lost 
his umbrella : 

" England, most fond of foreign follies grown, 
Each new device adopts and makes her own : 
France cannot fast enough supply the call, 
From Venice they import the Fresco ball, 
Where nymphs in loose and antick robes appear, 
And motley shapes our warlike heroes wear." 

And so forth. But the entertainment was so successful that another 
was given on the 24th May 1751, being the Prince of Wales' birth- 
day, and this was depicted by Canaletto. 

It was in 1749, as it happens, that London was first honoured 
by the attentions of Antonio Canaletto, " the perspective painter of 
Venice," as Vertue calls him in noting his arrival at this date. 
Vauxhall, as will be seen from our illustration, was likewise honoured, 
and Vertue makes the following interesting note about another of 
his London subjects : 

" It may be supposed that his shyness of showing his works 



32 ENGLISH SOCIErr OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

doing or done he has been told of, and therefore probably he put 
this advertisement in the public newspaper : Signer Canaletto hereby 
invites any gentlemen that will be pleased to come to his house 
to see a picture done by him, being a view of St. James' Park, 
which he hopes may in some measure deserve their approbation, 
any morning or afternoon at his lodgings [at] Mr Wiggan, cabinet-- 
maker in Silver street, Golden square." 

Boitard's print of the Venetian Masquerade is the more interesting 
inasmuch as the event which it depicts is minutely described by 
Walpole, who gives a very different view of it from that of the 
publishers of the print. Peace had been proclaimed on the 25th 
April 1749, "and on the next day," Walpole writes, "was what was 
called a Jubilee Masquerade in the Venetian manner, at Ranelagh ; 
it had nothing Venetian in it, but was by far the best understood and 
prettiest spectacle I ever saw ; nothing in a fairy tale even surpassed 
it. One of the proprietors, who is a German, and belongs to the 
Court, had got my Lady Yarmouth to persuade the King to order 
it. It began at three o'clock, and about five people of fashion 
began to go. When you entered you found the whole garden filled 
with masks and spread with tents, which remained all night very 
commodely. In one quarter was a Maypole dressed with garlands and 
people dancing round it to a tabor and pipe and rustic music, all 
masqued, as were all the various bands of music that were disposed 
in different parts of the garden ; some like huntsmen with French 
horns, some like peasants, and a troop of harlequins and scaramouches 
in the little open temple on the mount. On the Canal was a sort 
of gondola adorned with flags and streamers, and filled with music, 
rowing about. All round the outside of the amphitheatre were shops 
filled with Dresden china, Japan, &c., and all the shopkeepers in mask. 
The amphitheatre was illuminated, and in the middle was a circular 
bower, composed of all kinds of firs in tubs, from twenty to thirty 
feet high : under them orange trees with small lamps in each orange, 
and below them all sorts of the finest auriculas in pots; and festoons 
of natural flowers hanging from tree to tree. . . . There were booths 
for tea and wine, gaming tables and dancing, and about two thousand 
persons. In short it pleased me more than anything I ever saw." 



HOGARTH ^ND HIS TIMES 33 

Of the private Court life under George II. an amusing if grim 
sketch is given in a letter of Lord Hervey's to Lady Sundon, which 
is quoted by Thackeray in "The Four Georges." "I will not trouble 
you," he writes, " with any account of our occupations at Hampton 
Court. No mill-horse ever went in a more constant track, or a 
more unchanging circle ; so that by the assistance of an almanack 

o o * 

for the day of the week, and a watch for the hour of the day, you 
may inform yourself fully, without any other intelligence but your 
memory, of every transaction within the verge of the Court. 
Walking, chaises, levees, and audiences fill the morning. At night 
the King plays at commerce and backgammon, and the Queen at 
quadrille, where poor Lady Charlotte runs her usual nightly gauntlet, 
the Queen pulling her hood, and the Princess Royal rapping her 
knuckles. The Duke of Grafton takes his nightly opiate of lottery, 
and sleeps as usual between the Princess Amelia and Caroline. Lord 
Grantham strolls from one room to another (as Dryden says) like 
some discontented ghost that oft appears, and is forbid to speak, 
and stirs himself about as people stir a fire, not with any design, 
but in hopes to make it burn brisker. At last the King gets up ; 
the pool finishes ; and everybody has their dismission. Their 
Majesties retire to Lady Charlotte and my Lord LifFord ; my Lord 
Grantham to Lady Frances and Mr. Clark ; some to supper, some 
to bed ; and thus the evening and the morning make the day." 

Besides the three English artists, Hogarth, Highmore, and 
Hayman, to whom we are indebted for so much of our knowledge 
of what people looked like and what they did, there are several 
foreigners who have also contributed a great deal that is worth 
thanking them for, and whose names will perhaps be better known 
when this particular period in the history of the English school of 
painting comes to be a more fashionable study than it is at the present 
moment, when the examples which are here reproduced are practi- 
cally all that are procurable. Boitard we have already mentioned 
in connection with Ranelagh, and he has given us lively pictures of 
the men and women of his time in a couple of prints called " Taste 
a la Mode," in 1735 anc ^ J 745 but he was rather a broad-sheet 
satirist than anything more considerable. Of the painters, Marcellus 



34 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

Laroon the younger may first be mentioned, and he should perhaps 
be included among the Englishmen, being born and bred in England, 
though of course of foreign extraction. He was the son of " Old 
Laroon " mentioned in my first chapter, and was born near London 
in 1679. He began life as an actor, and he also served as a soldier, 
and obtained a commission, whence he is known as Captain Laroon. 
What has become of all his work it is impossible to say, but there 
is doubtless a good deal of it somewhere if it could only be found. 
A couple of drawings at the British Museum, and one or two in 
private collections are all that I have ever seen of it myself, besides 
the two pictures at Kensington Palace, and I have searched in vain 
for the present whereabouts of the larger picture of the " Duke of 
Montagu's Wedding," which is here reproduced. That an artist 
who could paint pictures like these should be so entirely forgotten 
seems almost impossible, not that they are in any sense masterpieces, 
but they show that Laroon was not only entrusted with important 
work of this sort, but was very capable of executing it. 

So far as I can ascertain, there is no history of the last-named 
picture beyond what was stated about it in the Catalogue of 
National Portraits, to the effect that it depicted the marriage of 
Lord Cardigan and Lady Mary Montagu, and that the bride and 
bridegroom are the figures talking to the parson near the door.. 
This of itself would date the picture as having been painted 
in 1730, or thereabouts, as the wedding in question took place in 
July of that year. On the other hand Laroon was more or less, 
engaged in active service till 1734, and there is the drawing by him 
reproduced opposite this page, which can hardly be dissociated from 
the picture; and that is inscribed " Marcellus Laroon fecit 1736," 
while underneath it is the following : "A Concert, by Captain 
Laroon. The gentleman on the left under the door is John, 
Duke of Montague ; the lady standing by him is his daughter 
Mary, Countess of Cardigan, afterwards Duchess of Montague." 
This is of course a considerably later inscription, as Cardigan was. 
not created Duke of Montagu till 1776, about which time Gains- 
borough painted him and his Duchess, making an even more won- 
derfully attractive picture of the elderly lady than of many a younger 



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HOGARTH *AND HIS TIMES 35 

beauty. In Laroon's picture are traceable three or four points that 
connect it with the drawing, such as the violoncello case in the fore- 
ground of either, the portraits of Lady Cardigan and her father, and 
the lady with the fan, who is evidently the same in both the drawing 
and the picture. In both it is quite obvious that all the figures are 
portraits, and that the subject is an actual scene in one or other of 
the rooms in Montagu House. 

There is a further point to be considered, however, and that 
is the similarity of this picture and the drawing to one of the two 
pictures at Kensington, which is called " Royal Assembly in Kew 
Palace." This is stated in the catalogue to be dated 1 740 ; but 
it is evidently another version of the wedding group, and is in fact 
closer to the drawing than the picture last described. There are 
variations, to be sure, but not of sufficient importance to allow of 
the slightest doubt that the scene is the same, and its appellation 
of a Royal assembly at Kew must yield to the inscription on the 
drawing. The other Kensington picture, which was formerly at 
Hampton Court, was for some time attributed to Vanderbank, and 
it is still catalogued as a Royal group, the person at the head of 
the table being said to be the Prince of Wales. But I cannot help 
thinking that here again we have something connected with the 
Montagu Wedding, especially as in an old catalogue the picture has 
been described as the marriage of the Duke of Wharton. Certainly 
a ducal coronet is discernible on the iron gate seen through an 
open window, but that either of the meteoric Wharton's two 
romantic weddings (one in the Fleet, and the other at Madrid) is 
here the subject is hardly possible. 

Hubert Franois Gravelot was another Frenchman who worked for 
some time in England during the 'forties, though he is not known 
to have painted any pictures. Walpole only mentions him in his 
"Catalogue of Engravers," though be begins by saying that he was 
not much known as an engraver, but was an excellent draughtsman. 
A glance at the specimens of his work here reproduced is enough 
to confirm the latter part of this statement ; and, though there is not 
very much either of his drawing or engraving extant, the few examples 
there are, both at the British Museum and in the National Art 



36 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

Library at South Kensington, are well worth hunting up. The 
illustrations to " Pamela," of which five of the drawings are at the 
British Museum, are widely different from those of Highmore, and 
it is perhaps hardly fair to the latter to compare them, as Gravelot's 
are finely drawn with a sharp pen on a very small scale, while 
Highmore's were oil paintings, of which we only know the engravings 
of Truchy, who was no great engraver, and Benoist, who, if he was 
rather better, was hardly of the first order. But the comparison is 
worth making if only to show what an English artist could do at 
that date when virtually in competition with a Frenchman ; and 
though Gravelot's work must be ranked by so many degrees the 
higher, that of Highmore has a greater value to us as being of our 
own school, and bringing home to us the life of the time with a 
sincerity that has certainly a charm of its own. Gravelot's " Ladies 
and Gentlemen on a Terrace," again, with all its delicate charm, is 
hardly English, and the voice of conscience tells me it is more 
likely that it represents a French scene than an English one ; but 
the composition is so entirely charming that I feel sure an indulgence 
will be granted, and England be given the benefit of the doubt. 

Another foreigner who painted portraits in England was John 
Baptist Vanloo, a brother of Carl Vanloo, whose " Halte a la Chasse" 
in the Louvre eclipses most of the illustrations of Society we have 
in England. Even John Baptist, as Walpole observes, soon bore 
away the chief business of London from every other painter, and 
had his visit not been so short (1737-1742) there can be no doubt 
that he would have acquired a much greater fame in this country. 
As it is, his work is but little known. There is a portrait of his 
of Augusta, Princess of Wales, holding the young George TIL by 
the hand, at Buckingham Palace ; but a more charming, if less 
important, specimen is the half-length of Peg Woffington in the 
Jones Collection at South Kensington. Why it should now be 
labelled as by an unknown artist when it was exhibited with the 
National Portraits in 1867 as Vanloo, was perhaps known to Mr. 
Jones, or to the Museum authorities ; but whether it be his or not, 
it is certainly an exceedingly delightful picture, and the treatment 
of the hands, in particular, is far more delicate than anything 



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HOGARTH *AND HIS TIMES 37 

that might be expected from most of the English painters of the 
period. 

What Vanloo might have done for English patrons may be 
judged from what his countryman Philip Mercier did though even 
of Mercier's work, during a sojourn of over forty years in England, 
it is difficult to enumerate more than a bare percentage. That 
Mercier has not left a deeper mark on his time is due rather to 
his own weakness than to any want of opportunity, for he came 
to England under the wing of Royalty, and was never in want of 
patronage. His work, however, is not of the strongest character ; 
in fact its principal charm is a sort of childishness ; and, delightful 
as many of his pieces are, they are not of a quality to command 
the admiration that, at the same time, they are quite capable of 
winning. 

Mercier was appointed principal painter and librarian to the 
Prince and Princess of Wales at their independent establishment 
in Leicester Fields, and while he was in favour he painted various 
portraits of the Royalties, and no doubt many of the nobility 
and gentry, which are awaiting re -discovery when the fashion 
for the name of Mercier sets in. Of the Royal portraits, those of 
the Prince of Wales and of his three sisters, painted in 1728, were 
all engraved in mezzotint by Simon, and that of the three elder 
children of the Prince of Wales by the younger Faber in 1744. 
This last was a typical piece of Mercier's composition, the children 
being made the subject of a spirited, if somewhat childish, allegory 
in their game of play. Prince George is represented with a firelock 
on his shoulder, teaching a dog his drill, while his little brother 
and sister are equally occupied in a scene which is aptly used to 
point a patriotic moral embodied in some verses subjoined to the 
plate, of which the concluding couplet is as follows : 

" Illustrious Isle where either sex displays 
Such early omens of their future praise ! " 

Faber also engraved six plates of " Rural Life " after Mercier, and 
several other subjects of his have survived him, and show that 
possibly he did not make the fullest use of his Royal patronage. 



38 ENGLISH SOCIETY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

Be that as it may, he lost favour, and it is probable that it 
was shortly after this that he left London and settled in York ; 
where he practised portrait painting for over ten years, before 
returning to London again. In Yorkshire houses there must be 
many of his portraits painted at this time. Vertue mentions that 
he " had much imployments of Nobility and Gentry and substantial 
persons, whose portraits he drew, being well paid for them," before 
returning to London in October 1751. At Hovingham Hall, for 
instance, there are three juvenile portraits, painted in 1742, of the 
daughters of Thomas Worsley, in whose account -book is the 
following entry on the 3ist July in that year "Paid Mr. Mercier 
for three pictures, viz., of my daughters Betty, Kitty, and Nancy, 
at whole length, ^21." Lord Malmesbury's portrait of Handel 
is a very life-like and natural picture of Mercier's, said to have 
been painted in or about 1748. In 1752 Vertue records that Mercier 
went to Portugal at the request of several English merchants. He 
did not long remain there, however, but came back to London, 
where he died in 1760. 

That Mercier's name should not figure in the Catalogue of our 
National Gallery is hardly surprising, but it is worth mentioning, 
perhaps, that one of his subject pictures has recently been acquired 
for the Louvre. This is a small piece called "Le Degustateur," a 
half-length of a boy seated beside a wine cask, a full glass uplifted 
to the light in his right hand, and a flask in his left. In treatment, 
though hardly in technique, it anticipates Chardin, and it will be 
interesting to see whether Mercier's name is catalogued with the 
English or the French School. Certainly the bulk of his work was 
done in England, and even before his appointment to the Royal 
Household, he was painting English portraits. A view of the terrace 
of Shotover House, near Oxford, was recently sold out of the collection 
of Dr. Briscoe of Holton Park, which contained portraits of Baron 
and Lady Schutz, Dr. Tessier, Mrs. Blunt, the daughter of Sir 
Timothy Tyrrell, Mrs. Bensoin, Colonel Schutz, and Count Betmere. 
This was painted by Mercier in 1725. Another family group is 
that at Belton, of Viscount Tyrconnel and his family in a garden, 
and Mercier himself sketching them. Neither of these pictures, 






I - 

I ' >^*2m3&^,El 




HOGARTH vfND HIS TIMES 39 

however, is accessible to public view, and as a painter of conversation 
pieces Mercier has still to be " discovered." If time, fashion, or 
accident will bring to light a few examples of the sort of picture 
sketched in the accompanying drawing, we shall have reason to be 
grateful to this Frenchman, if only for showing us that the fancy 
portrait I ventured to draw of the Court of Queen Anne might very 
possibly have been painted in fact. We have become so used to 
thinking of our ancestors in terms of conventional family portraits, 
that we can hardly imagine them engaging in less prosaic pursuits than 
politics or war. But what is to be said of a group like this, where 
a country gentleman and his party are actually depicted at a concert 
in the garden ? If it is not Marlborough with a lute, it is at least 
a squire, and possibly a nobleman, with a violoncello ; and, for all 
we know, this delightful party may be composed of some of the 
very stiffest and starchiest of Georgian Society as we know it from 
less romantic records. As a matter of fact, the notorious pompousness 
of the English is not even skin deep it goes no deeper than their 
decorations, or at most than their clothes ; and as a record of what 
Society actually was, a sketch of this sort is worth a hundred 
ancestral portraits. 



CHAPTER III 
THE INFLUENCE OF REYNOLDS AND GAINSBOROUGH 

THE more one thinks of it the more extraordinary it seems that 
out of nothing should have sprung almost at the same moment two 
great painters, of such different methods, training, and surroundings; 
yet whose works (besides being the most wonderful that this country 
has ever produced) are in not a few instances so much alike that 
it requires a skilled judgment to decide whether they are by the one 
or the other. It is as though the Goddesses or Genii of East and 
West had wagered as to which could produce the greater artist, 
and that Suffolk and Devonshire were on their mettle. From Plympton 
came the ambitious Reynolds ambitious, I mean, to learn and practise 
all that had been possible in painting, and more. From Sudbury, 
the natural, easy Gainsborough, who never travelled further than 
Bath, and who studied his landscapes from sticks and weeds. That 
both had a natural genius for painting need hardly be said the 
Goddesses saw to that ; but while Reynolds was ceaselessly studying from 
the old masters how to accomplish their excellences and to use them 
in discovering fresh ones of his own, Gainsborough was simply 
painting ; and, even if we must accord Reynolds the higher place, 
we cannot help feeling that, of the two, Gainsborough is by far 
the more lovable, and that perhaps his coolness to Reynolds is not 
altogether inexplicable, if we imagine, as it is easy to do, that he 
read the high-flown Presidential discourses with a little impatience 
now and then. "All the indigested notions of painting which I 
had brought with me from England," we may quote as an instance, 
" where art was at the lowest state it had ever been in (it could 
not indeed be lower), were to be totally done away with, and eradicated 
from my mind." It is true that this particular passage was not 

published in Gainsborough's lifetime, and that it refers to a period 

40 



THE INFLUENCE OF IjETNOLDS <AND QAINSBOROUGH 41 

when he was but twenty years old ; but it is a good instance of 
Reynolds' view of his own and his country's art, which was no 
doubt expressed in some form or another whenever occasion allowed. 
Can we not sympathise with Gainsborough, who had learnt only 
from Hayman and Gravelot, and take pleasure in recalling that 
there was at all events enough art in England in 1761 to elicit 
the following stanzas from Roubiliac the sculptor, which were 
stuck up at the Spring Gardens exhibition of English paintings in 
that year. 

" Pretendu connoiseur qui sur 1'antique glose 
Idolatrant le nom sans connoitre la chose, 
Vrai peste des beaux arts, sans gout sans E quite", 
Quitez ce ton pedant, ce mepris affecte 
Pour tout ce que le temps n'a pas encore gate". 

Ne peus-tu pas, en admirant 

Les maitres de la Grece et ceux de 1'Italie, 

Rendre justice egalement 

A ceux qu'a nourris ta Patrie ? 

Vois ce Salon et tu perdras 
Cette prevention injuste ; 
Et, bien etonne", conviendras 
Qu'il ne faut pas qu'un Mecenas 
Pour revoir le Siecle d'Auguste." 

Can we not sympathise with Gainsborough in feeling a little 
resentment at having Italy perpetually rammed down his countrymen's 
throats, and at such passages in particular as that in the discourse 
on "the grand style"? "As for the various departments of painting, 
which do not presume to make such high pretensions, they are 
many. None of them are without their merit, though none enter 
into competition with this universal presiding idea of the art" [this 
by-the-by from " The President"]. " The painters who have applied 
themselves more particularly to low and vulgar characters, and who 
express with precision the various shades of passion as they are ,' 
exhibited by vulgar minds (such as we see in the works of Hogarth) 
deserve great praise ; but as their genius has been employed on low 
and confined subjects, the praise which we give must be as limited 
as its object." 



42 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

How true and how important ! But also how exasperating. We 
know that Reynolds was, and alone was, qualified to discourse in this 
strain ; but on the other hand Gainsborough was qualified, and alone 
qualified, to be independent of it ; and interesting as it is to know, as 
Reynolds admitted to Malone, that he had Paul Veronese in view 
when painting the two groups of the Dilettante Society, we feel 
much more charmed with Gainsborough's method of showing his fair 
sitters into a room illumined with but a single ray of light, and 
engaging them in conversation until the moment arrived when he 
would shout at them, " Stop as you are ! " 

It seems to me that some feeling of this sort more easily explains 
Malone's account (which he had from Reynolds) of the relations 
between two such discuneate painters, than any question of professional 
rivalry or envy. " Soon after Gainsborough settled in London," says 
Malone, " Sir Joshua Reynolds thought himself bound in civility to 
pay him a visit. That painter, however (as our author told me), 
took not the least notice of him for several years ; but at length 
called on him, and requested him to sit for his picture. Sir Joshua 
complied, and sat once to that artist, but being soon afterwards 
taken ill, he was obliged to go to Bath for his health. On his 
return to London perfectly restored, he sent Gainsborough word 
that he was returned, to which Gainsborough, who was extremely 
capricious, only replied that he was glad to hear that Sir Joshua 
Reynolds was well ; and he never afterwards desired Sir Joshua to 
sit, nor had any other intercourse with him till Gainsborough was 
dying." 

Each went his own way ; the one to paint as many as one 
hundred and twenty portraits of the nobility and gentry in a single 
year, to frame his immortal discourses, and to send his sister out 
driving in his state coach ; the other to thunder at the Academy 
when his portrait of Royalty was not hung as he desired it, and to 
dazzle the world with an inexplicable technique that drew from 
Quin the delightful criticism, related by Angelo, "Sometimes, Tom 
Gainsborough, the same picture from your rigmarole style appears 
to my optics the veriest daub, and then the devil's in you I think 
you a Vandyke." 



THE INFLUENCE OF TjETNOLDS ^ND QAINSBOROUGH 43 

Still more extraordinary was Gainsborough's "mopping," as it was 
commonly called, when he employed all the kitchen crockery and a 
quantity of sponges in the composition of landscape sketches a 
meccanismo which became so popular that even the Queen had lessons 
from him. That he was so favoured of Royalty to the exclusion 
of Reynolds, even Angelo cannot explain, only suggesting that Gains- 
borough's charming personality was the most probable cause. " When 
my father was in attendance at Buckingham House," he writes, 
" Gainsborough was busily engaged in painting separate portraits of 
the Royal children. He used to tell my father he was all but 
raving mad with ecstasy in beholding such a constellation of youth- 
ful beauty. Indeed he used sometimes to rattle away in so hyper- 
bolical a strain upon the subject of his art, that any indifferent 
observer would have concluded the painter was beside his wits. 
* Talk of the Greeks ! ' he would exclaim, ' the pale-faced, long- 
nosed, unmeaning-visaged ghosts ! Look at the living, delectable 
carnations in this royal progeny. Talk of old Dame Cornelia, the 
mother of the Gracchi ! ' (addressing himself to his own painted 
resemblance of the sons and daughter of his Royal employer). 'Sir, 
here you behold half a score of youthful divinities ! Look on, ye 
Gods ! ' ' Hist,' my father would say, ' Mister Gainsborough ! you 
will be overheard, and we shall both be sent to St. Luke's.' ' St. 
Luke's, sir,' replied the madcap, ' know ye not that I am a painter, 
ergo a son of St. Luke ? Ha ! ha ! ha ! ' 

The arrival of two such great portrait painters so entirely upset 
the existing state of the arts in England, and raised the practice of 
portraiture to such an unexpected height, that it is a little difficult 
to decide how far our ideas of society are affected by the painters, 
and how far the painters were influenced by society, or whether, in 
fact, they had any effect upon each other at all. At first thought 
it seems almost as if these two creators had of themselves brought 
into existence an entirely new race of superintelligent characters, and, 
like Deucalion and Pyrrha, peopled these islands, that of late had 
seemed to be overrun by pickpockets and prostitutes, with a society of 
statesmen, wits, and beauties which but for them would never have 
come into existence. It was not merely that England was becoming 



44 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

more civilised she is doing that still ; but that the genius of two 
of her children seems all of a sudden to have transformed the coarse 
English Society of Hogarth and Fielding into ranks of great per- 
sonages, and to have given them such an everliving quality that 
their features and figures are still almost as familiar to us, and at 
least as inspiring to the imagination, as those of the men and women 
whom we point out to our country cousins to-day. 

That there were any good portraits painted before Reynolds' 
" Admiral Keppel " ushered in the new epoch, is perhaps hardly as 
well known, or at least remembered, as that there was a super- 
abundance of bad ones ; for Reynolds, not content with eclipsing 
his predecessors, went so far as to stigmatise their period as one in 
which " art was at the lowest state it had ever been in, it could 
not be lower." Nevertheless there were some very capable men 
at work in painting portraits, whose work would be much more 
appreciated if it were more studied. Philip Mercier I have already 
mentioned. George Knapton, besides being an able painter, is noted 
by Vertue for being " the most skilful judge or connoisseur in 
pictures," on which account he was appointed by the Prince of 
Wales keeper of the pictures at Kensington Palace. " At several 
times seeing Mr. Knapton at his house," wrote Vertue in 1750 
(Add. MS. 23074, fol. 72), I observed his great improvement in 
oil painting particularly a large family piece of the Duke and 
Duchess of Bedford and their children in one picture. Also another 
family piece of a gentleman, his lady and child, well drawn, dis- 
posed, and well coloured and painted, which pieces no doubt will 
do him much credit." At Althorp is a portrait group painted by 
him in 1745 of the Hon. John Spencer, with dog and gun, and his 
son, the first Earl Spencer, and a black servant, which is not at all 
a bad example of what a family picture ought to be. Hudson's 
portraits, too, are by no means as negligible as his pupil's performances 
have conspired with other circumstances to make them, and besides 
the goodly number of painters whose names are more or less 
familiar, there were doubtless many of sterling merit of whom we 
know nothing, such as the following note, extracted by Vertue from 
the Daily Advertiser in 1751, seems to refer to: 



THE INFLUENCE OF ^ETNOLDS <^ND QAINSBOROUGH 45 

" Andreas Mustard, limner in enamel and miniature ; come 
to London learnt of Rosalba in Venice : has drawn pictures 
of Nobles, Princes, and Kings ; his price for enamelling, ten 
guineas : for limning, five guineas : in crayons, two guineas." 

But Reynolds' most serious rival at this early period was Ramsay, 
of whose pictures Vertue observes in the same year that they were 
" much superior in merit than other portrait painters his men's 
pictures strong likenesses, firm in drawing, and true flesh colouring, 
natural tinctures : his ladies delicate and genteel easy free likenesses 
their habits and dresses well disposed and airy. His flesh tints under 
his silks and satins, &c., shining beautiful and clear with great 
variety ; his portraits generally very like ; rather a true imitation of 
nature than any mannerist." 

Walpole's letter to Sir David Dalrymple in 1759 is a very 
useful note at this critical moment. He mentions Ramsay the painter 
as the writer of certain anonymous pieces, and continues: "In his 
own walk he has great merit. He and Mr. Reynolds are the favourite 
painters, and two of the very best we ever had. Indeed the number 
of good has been very small considering the number there are. A 
very few years ago there were computed two thousand portrait 
painters in London ; I do not exaggerate the computation, but 
diminish it, though I think it must have been exaggerated." 

But still more surprising is what follows : 

" Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Ramsay can scarce be rivals ; their 
manners are so different. The former is bold, and has a kind of 
tempestuous colouring, yet with dignity and grace ; the latter is all 
delicacy. Mr. Reynolds seldom succeeds in women, Mr. Ramsay 
is formed to paint them." 

This, however, was long before the enchanting picture of Nelly 
O'Brien was painted, and before the end of 1761 Walpole had so far 
modified his seemingly extraordinary opinion as to mention " a pretty 
whole-length of Lady Elizabeth Keppel in the bridesmaid's habit, 
sacrificing to Hymen " ; but this is only put in as d propos of the 
preceding sentence : " Did you see the charming picture Reynolds 
painted for me of him (Hon. Richard Edgecumbe), Selwyn, and 



46 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

Gilly Williams ? It is by far one of the best things he has 
executed." 

This is one of the few " conversation pieces " that were painted 
by Reynolds, the great bulk of his work being of course single 
portraits. Family groups, even, are rare, which is a matter for the 
keenest regret, when we see how perfect a master of composition 
his studies in Italy had helped to make him. One of his earliest 
pictures, painted in 1746, is that of the Eliot family, at Port Eliot, 
St. Germans, which is here reproduced from a small water-colour 
belonging to Mr. G. Harland Peck. In 1777, Sir Joshua seems 
to have reverted somewhat to groups, for there are no less than four 
that belong to this year or the next. First there is the pair of 
large portrait groups of the Dilettante Society (now at the Grafton 
Gallery), the club for which, said Walpole, the nominal qualification 
was having been in Italy, and the real one being drunk. Then 
there is the Bedford family group, in which the Duke is repre- 
sented as St. George in the act of combat with the dragon, while Miss 
Vernon is Sabrina, and Lords John and William fill up the landscape. 
But the most important of all is the superb Marlborough picture, in 
which there are no less than eight figures to say nothing of the dogs 
which Ticozzi is not far wrong in naming as // suo capo a" opera. 

If there is not very much of Sir Joshua's work that illustrates 
the manners and actions of people, there is still less of Gains- 
borough's ; and of what there is, one cannot help feeling that Sir 
Walter Armstrong's criticism is very true. " In such complex 
matters as groups of many figures," he writes, " Gainsborough was 
never successful in hitting upon a quite satisfactory conception. The 
Baillie family in the National Gallery is a collection of beautiful 
passages, it is not a picture. In a less degree we may say the same 
thing of the Marsham family, of the eldest Princesses, and even 
of such comparatively simple things as the Sussex group, or the 
Eliza and Tom Linley. In each of these, separate ideas were 
suggested by the different figures, and the painter was defective in 
the faculty required for seducing them into a real intimacy . . . 
The only striking exceptions to this are afforded by those few cases 
in which his portraits become so far subject pictures as to suggest 



THE INFLUENCE OF T^ETNOLDS <JND QAINSBOROUGH 47 

an independent title, like ' The Morning Walk.' . . ." This last 
sentence must certainly be taken to include the beautiful picture of 
" Ladies Walking in the Mall," belonging to Sir Audley Neeld, which 
is perhaps the very finest example there is of a picture of English 
Society. But, save for exceptions of this sort, it is not the actual 
works of Reynolds and Gainsborough so much as their example and 
the effect they had on the art of their time that concern us, and we 
may begin to look round and see who else there was who has 
depicted Society in one form or another. 

George Romney, who is certainly nearer, and that by many degrees, 
to Reynolds and Gainsborough than any one of his time, or since, 
has succeeded in getting, appears to have started his career by 
painting composition pieces as well as the portraits of his Westmore- 
land neighbours ; and Cunningham mentions that he exhibited about 
a score of these in the Town Hall at Kendal, and disposed of them 
by lottery. Most of these had disappeared long before Cunningham's 
time, and young Romney relates how he and his father discovered 
one of them at Barfield in 1798, when they were looking over a 
house with a view to taking it, and thus describes it : " It repre- 
sents a party consisting of three gentlemen and two ladies going 
on board a boat on a lake. The ladies show great timidity, so 
natural to the female character under the impression of danger, 
which expression is frequently accompanied by a certain degree of 
grace ; but are politely urged by their attendant gallants. The 
colouring is beautifully clear and as fresh as if recently painted. 
The execution evinces great facility and freedom of handling, and 
the touches are spirited and neat." 

That we have no more of such compositions and but few family 
pieces of Romney's, is perhaps accounted for by another incident related 
by Cunningham, namely, a visit from Garrick in the year 1768, or 
thereabouts, when Romney had been painting the Leigh family in a 
group, which he exhibited at the Free Society of Artists in that 
year. Cumberland had persuaded Garrick to visit Romney, who, 
before his tour to Italy, found London none too sympathetic, and 
was sadly in need of encouragement. Whether Garrick's pleasantry 
was ill or well intentioned it may not be possible to determine, 



48 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

but it certainly appears to have been the latter, or we can hardly 
imagine how a North countryman would have suffered such intolerable 
impertinence from a stranger, however illustrious. A large family 
piece, says Cunningham, unluckily arrested his attention a gentle- 
man in a close buckled bob-wig and a scarlet waistcoat laced with 
gold, with his wife and children (some sitting, some standing), had 
taken possession of some yards of canvas, very much, as it appeared, 
to their own satisfaction for they were perfectly amused in a con- 
tented abstinence from all thought or action. Upon this unfortunate 
group, when Garrick had fixed his lynx's eyes, he began to put him- 
self into the attitude of the gentleman, and turning to Mr. Romney, 
" Upon my word, sir," said he, " this is a very regular well-ordered 
family, and that is a very bright rubbed mahogany table at which 
that motherly good lady is sitting ; and this worthy gentleman in the 
scarlet waistcoat is doubtless a very excellent subject (to the State, I 
mean, if these are all his children), but not for your art, Mr. Romney, 
if you mean to pursue it with that success which I hope will attend 
you." The modest artist, Cunningham adds, took the hint as it was 
meant, in good part, and turned his family with their faces to the 
wall. One cannot help wishing David Garrick anywhere but in 
Romney's studio after hearing this, for there is no doubt that 
Romney had a very good feeling for grouping figures, and indeed 
one of his first portraits done in London, that gave him a great 
vogue, was that of Sir George Warren and his lady, and their little 
girl caressing a bullfinch, which, says Cunningham, was so full of 
nature and tenderness that all who saw it went away admiring, and 
spread praise of the artist far and near. 

The picture of the Gower children, again, painted in i777> is a 
charming example of his success in groups of figures ; four or five 
studies for this, in sepia, were once in my possession, all of them 
differing considerably, and showing what pains he was at, and how 
successful they were, in the arrangement of a family picture. Another 
group painted at about the same time is that of the Beaumont 
family; and in 1795 ne executed two most important groups, one of 
the Bosanquet family, in which there are six full-length figures, and 
the famous Egremont picture at Petworth. 



Jd 




THE INFLUENCE OF ^ETNOLDS ^ND QAINSBOROUGH 49 

Before we pass on to some of the minor artists of this period,, 
let us glance for a moment at one or two notes by contemporary 
writers that may help to show us how the times were moving, 
Walpole is of course the most entertaining authority for this, even 
more than for other periods of the century, and for a terse outline 
of the annual course of Society in 1763, we may turn to a letter of 
his to Lord Hertford. " We are a very absurd nation," he writes, 
"but then that absurdity depends upon the almanac. Posterity,, 
who will know nothing of our intervals, will conclude that this age 
was a succession of events. I could tell them [the French] that we 
know as well when an event as when Easter will happen. Do but 
recollect this last ten years. The beginning of October one is 
certain that everybody will be at Newmarket, and the Duke of 
Cumberland will lose and Shafto will win two or three thousand 
pounds. After that, while people are preparing to come to town 
for the winter, the Ministry is suddenly changed, and all the world 
comes to learn how it happened, a fortnight sooner than they in- 
tended ; and fully persuaded that the new arrangement cannot last 
a month. The Parliament opens ; everybody is bribed ; and the new 
establishment is perceived to be composed of adamant. November 
passes with two or three self-murders, and a new play. Christmas- 
arrives ; everybody goes out of town ; and a riot happens in one of 
the theatres. The Parliament meets again . . . balls and assemblies 
begin ; some master and miss get together, are talked of, and give 
occasion to forty more matches being invented. . . . Ranelagh opens, 
and Vauxhall ; one produces scandal, and t'other a drunken quarreU 
People separate, some to Tunbridge and some to all the horse races 
in England ; and so the year comes again to October." 

In a letter to Montagu in the following year he is a little more 
particular. " If you like to know the state of the town," he says, 
" here it is. In the first place it is very empty (this was on the 
1 6th December), and in the next there are more diversions than the 
week will hold. A charming Italian Opera, with no dances and 
no company, at least on Tuesdays ; to satisfy which defect the 
subscribers are to have a ball and a supper a plan that in my 
humble opinion will fill the Tuesdays and empty the Saturdays. 



5 o ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

At both playhouses are woful English Operas ; which, however, fill 
better than the Italian, patriotism being entirely confined to our 
ears ; how long the sages of the law will leave us these I cannot 
say. . . . Well, but there are more joys ; a dinner and assembly 
every Monday at the Austrian Minister's ; ditto on Thursdays at 
the Spaniard's ; ditto on Wednesdays and Sundays at the French 
Ambassador's, besides Madame de Welderen's on Wednesdays, Lady 
Harrington's Sundays, and occasional private mobs at my Lady 
Northumberland's. Then for the mornings there are levees and 
drawing-rooms without end, not to mention the Macaroni Club, 
which has quite absorbed Arthur's, for you know old fools will be 
after young ones." 

Another of Walpole's letters to the sympathetic George Montagu 
contains an enlightening little passage on country town society, when 
he was being elected as member of Parliament for the borough 
of King's Lynn in 1761. "Think of me," he writes, "the subject 
of a mob, who was scarce ever before in a mob, addressing them 
in the Town Hall, riding at the head of two thousand people 
through such a town as Lynn, dining with about two hundred of 
them amid bumpers, hurras, soup and tobacco, and finishing with 
country dancing at a ball and sixpenny whisk ! I have borne it all 
cheerfully ; nay, have sat hours in conversation^ the thing upon earth 
that I hate ; have been to hear misses play on the harpsichord, and 
to see an alderman's copies of Rubens and Carlo Marat. Yet to 
do the folks justice they are sensible, and reasonable and civilised ; 
their very language is (become) polished since I (last) lived among 
them. I attribute this to their frequent intercourse with the world 
and the capital, by the help of good roads and postchaises which, 
if they have abridged the King's dominions, have at least tamed 
his subjects." 

In 1769 Vauxhall was still in high fashion, and Walpole gives a 
vivid picture of a Ridotto al fresco there at the beginning of May. 
" Mr. Conway and I set out from his house at eight o'clock ; the 
tide and torrent of coaches was so prodigious that it was half-an- 
hour after nine before we got half-way from Westminster Bridge. 
We then alighted ; and after scrambling under the bellies of horses, 



THE INFLUENCE OF IjETNOLDS ^ND QAINSBOROUGH 51 

through wheels and over posts and rails, we reached the gardens, 
where were already many thousand persons. Nothing diverted me 
but a man in Turk's dress and two nymphs in masquerade without 
masques, who sailed among the company, and, which was surprising, 
seemed to surprise nobody. It had been given out that people 
were desired to come in fancied dress without masks. We walked 
twice round, and were rejoiced to come away, though with the 
same difficulties as at our entrance, for we found three strings of 
coaches all along the road who did not move half a foot in half 
an hour. There is to be a rival mob in the same way at Ranelagh 
to-morrow, for the greater the folly and imposition the greater is 
the crowd." 

Of the private or domestic occupations of society it is more 
difficult to find either descriptions or illustrations ; but there is a 
charming little picture by Goldsmith, framed in the form of a 
letter from a young lady, a leader of fashion in 1760 or there- 
abouts, that is certainly worth quoting : 

"As I live, my dear Charlotte, I believe the Colonel will carry 
it at last ; he is a most irresistible fellow, that's flat. So well 
dressed, so neat, so sprightly, and plays about one so agreeably, 
that I vow he has as much spirits as the Marquis of Monkeyman's 
Italian greyhound. I first saw him at Ranelagh ; he shines there ; 
he is nothing without Ranelagh, and Ranelagh nothing without 
him. The next day he sent a card and compliments, desiring to 
wait on mamma and me to the music subscription. He looked 
all the time with such irresistible impudence, that positively he 
had something in his face gave me as much pleasure as a pair-royal 
of naturals in my own hand. He waited on mamma and me the 
next morning to know how we got home ; you must know the 
insidious devil makes love to us both. Rap went the footman at 
the door ; bounce went my heart ; I thought he would have rattled 
the house down. Chariot drove up to the window with his foot- 
men in the prettiest liveries ; he has infinite taste, that's flat. 
Mamma had spent all the morning at her head ; but for my part, I 
was in an undress to receive him ; quite easy, mind that ; no way 



52 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

disturbed at his approach ; mamma pretended to be as degage as 
I, and yet I saw her blush in spite of her. Positively he is a 
most killing devil ! He did nothing but laugh all the time he 
staid with us ; I never heard so very many good things before ; 
at first he mistook mamma for my sister, at which she laughed : 
then he mistook my natural complexion for paint, at which I 
laughed : and then he showed us a picture in the lid of his snuff- 
box, at which we all laughed. He plays picquet so very ill, and 
is so very fond of cards, and loses with such a grace, that positively 
he has won me ; I have got a cool hundred, but have lost my 
heart. I need not tell you that he is only a colonel of train 
bands. I am, dear Charlotte, Your's for ever, BELINDA." 

The feminine passion for gaming, of which a faint recurrence 
occasionally flutters society even in modern times, was a constant 
subject for satirical pen and pencil in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries Hogarth's little picture of " The Lady's Last 
Stake " is an instance ; and Goldsmith's Chinese friend, Lien Chi 
Atlangi, has another rap at the English ladies under cover of 
applauding their moderation as compared with the excesses of the 
Chinese. After mentioning an instance of one of his countrywomen 
staking her clothes, her teeth, and her glass eye all of which, it 
would appear, were delivered over on the nail and that of the 
Spaniard who, when all his money was gone, endeavoured to borrow 
more by offering to pawn his whiskers, he pays this delicate tribute 
to the English ladies : 

" How happy, my friend, are the English ladies who never rise 
to such an inordinance of passion ! Though the sex here are 
naturally fond of games of chance, and are taught to manage games 
of skill from their infancy, yet they never pursue ill-fortune with 
such amazing intrepidity. Indeed, I may entirely acquit them of 
ever playing I mean playing for their eyes or their teeth. It is. 
true they often stake their fortune, their beauty, health, and 
reputations at a gaming table. It even sometimes happens that 

1 "Citizen of the World," vol. i. No. xxxix. 



THE INFLUENCE OF ^ETNOLDS ^ND QAINSBOROUGH 53 

they play their husbands into a jail ; yet still they preserve a decorum 
unknown to our wives and daughters of China. I have been present 
at a rout in this country where a woman of fashion, after losing her 
money, has sat writhing in all the agonies of bad luck ; and yet, 
after all, never once attempted to strip a single petticoat, or cover 
the board, as her last stake, with her head-clothes." 

Hogarth, whose career by-the-bye extended as far into this 
period as 1765, left a very tolerable disciple in the person of John 
Collett. Whether Collett was actually a pupil of Hogarth's or not, 
I do not know ; but he was certainly an imitator, and has not only 
left us a good many single prints designed in Hogarth's manner, 
but even a series, which bears the alluring title of " Modern Love." 
This series consists of four prints, which were engraved by J. 
Goldar and published in 1782, the pictures no doubt being painted 
considerably earlier. The first is " Courtship," where the foreground 
is occupied by a very sentimental young lady who is presumably an 
heiress, and an impassioned lover who is doubtless impecunious. 
The parents, unobserved, are watching the interview in consternation. 
Plate 2 is styled "The Elopement," which has less interest than the 
third, " The Honeymoon." Plate 4, " Discordant Matrimony," is 
the best of all, and is so naturally composed that it may fairly be 
taken as an example of what a domestic interior actually looked like 
at that date, putting aside of course the Hogarthian letterpress that 
is printed on every available space to point the moral. 

Of the single prints, " High Life Below Stairs " is one of the 
most successful, published in 1772. Another is "The Cotillion 
Dance," published in 1771, in which are eight figures of dancers, 
besides one or two spectators, and the musicians in a gallery. 
Another is a village scene, "The Vicar going to Dinner with the 
Esquire," engraved by T. Stayner in 1768, as is also "The Re- 
cruiting Sergeant," engraved by Goldar in the year following. In all 
of these there is humour enough to enliven them, without their 
being coarse or burlesque, and it is much to be regretted that none 
of the original pictures are in our public galleries. That any of 
them are still in existence, may, of course, be doubted ; but my 



54 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

own opinion is that if once the fashion set in for this class of 
picture, there would be countless examples sent up to Christie's for 
sale which are now hanging in obscure corners of country houses, 
or standing face to the walls in the lumber rooms of provincial 
dealers. An outcry is sometimes raised against the Trustees of the 
National Gallery for their inability to give thousands and tens of 
thousands for great and famous pictures, which in past years might 
have been purchased for a tenth of the money now asked for them ; 
but they might much more reasonably be urged to consider the 
advisability of the nation now securing, by a little judicious industry 
and less money, a few examples of the early British painters whose 
names are not yet well enough known or regarded to inflate the 
prices of their work irrespective of its merit or its value in the 
history of English painting. To show how feasible this is, it is 
only necessary to turn to the British Museum, to whose Department 
of Prints and Drawings we are indebted for almost all that is 
known of any but the first rank of our earlier artists. Mr. 
Laurence Binyon's catalogue of English drawings is a revelation to 
any beginner in the study of this country's art, and, though the 
collection is far from complete, the most watchful eye is ever open 
to secure any desirable additions at a reasonable price. 

While Collett's work carries us back to the old school of 
Hogarth, it is time to look forward to the newer art that under 
the (then) quickening influence of the Royal Academy was springing 
up and showing itself everywhere. A suitable instance for closing 
this chapter is that of John Raphael Smith, whose work, though it 
principally belongs to the last quarter of the century, has preserved 
at least one very precious relic of the second quarter in his delicious 
sketch of the Promenade at Carlisle House. 

John Raphael Smith is so well known as an engraver, that his 
charm as a draughtsman has been rather eclipsed by the popularity 
of his mezzotints after Sir Joshua and others of the great painters, 
and even this delightful scene at Carlisle House is probably more 
familiar to the public from the prints of it in the shop windows 
than from the drawing itself, which is hung in the water-colour 
galleries at the South Kensington Museum. His original work is 



'THE INFLUENCE OF ^ETNOLDS ^N.D qAINSBOROUGH 55 

lamentably scarce, and we may well wish that he had devoted less 
time to engraving and more to drawing. 

Carlisle House stood at the corner of Sutton Street, on the east 
side of Soho Square. It was kept by Mrs. Cornelys, whom Walpole 
indirectly stigmatises as the ugliest woman of her day by describing 
Heidegger as her male counterpart. " On Wednesday evenings," 
wrote the eighteen-year-old Fanny Burney in her diary, "we went 
to Mrs. Cornelys' with Papa and Miss Nancy Pascall. The magnifi- 
cence of the rooms, splendour of the illuminations and embellishment, 
and the brilliant appearance of the company exceeded anything I ever 
before saw. The apartments were so crowded we had scarce room to 
move, which was quite disagreeable ; nevertheless, the flight of apart- 
ments both upstairs and on the ground floor seemed endless . . 
the rooms were so full and hot that nobody attempted to dance." 

It was in 1760 that Mrs. Cornelys who had appeared in England 
as an opera singer in 1746 first took Carlisle House, which, under 
her auspices, was during the next dozen years the scene of some of 
the most brilliant assemblies that have ever been recorded. Casa- 
nova mentions that she had sometimes as many as six hundred 
people in her saloon at one time at two guineas a head, and 
even the institution of Almack's, in 1764, seems not to have affected 
her success to any appreciable extent. " Mrs. Cornelys," writes 
Walpole in this year, " apprehending the future assembly at Almack's, 
has enlarged her vast room, and hung it with blue satin, and another 
with yellow satin ; but Almack's room, which is to be ninety feet 
long, proposes to swallow up both hers, as easily as Moses' rod 
gobbled down those of the magicians." Mrs. Cornelys, however, 
replied with an expenditure of a couple of thousand pounds in the 
year following on furniture and embellishments, including " the 
most curious, singular, and superb ceiling to one of the rooms that 
was ever executed or even thought of," an outlay which was amply 
justified by her future successes. In April 1768, for instance, the 
following is recorded in the Daily Advertiser: 

" On Thursday last there was a remarkably brilliant Assembly 
at Mrs. Cornelys' in Soho Square. There were present (besides 



56 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

some of the Royal Family) many of the foreign ministry and 
first nobility, the Prince of Monaco, and two or three of the 
principal gentlemen in his Serene Highness' train. The Prince 
seemed astonished at the profusion of state, elegance, and ex- 
pense displayed throughout the house, and declared his perfect 
approbation of the Assembly, as by far exceeding the highest 
of his expectations, or what he could possibly have conceived 
of any place of entertainment of that nature." 

In the following August the King of Denmark honoured Mrs. 
Cornelys' with a visit, and next year were added a new room for 
the dancing of Cotillons and Allemandes, and a suite of new rooms 
adjoining. In February 1770, one of the most brilliant masquerades 
of all was held, of which the following account in the papers is 
printed in Mr. Clinch's most interesting edition of Dr. Rimbault's 
MSS., with many other details of the history of this remarkable 
though now totally forgotten house : 

" Monday night, the principal nobility and gentry of this king- 
dom, to the number of near eight hundred, were present at the 
masked ball at Mrs. Cornelys' in Soho Square, given by the gentle- 
men of the Tuesday Night's Club, held at the Star and Garter 
Tavern in Pall Mall. Soho Square and the adjacent streets were 
lined with thousands of people, whose curiosity led them to get a 
sight of the persons going to the masquerade ; nor was any coach 
or chair suffered to pass unreviewed, the windows being obliged to 
be let down, and lights held up to display the figures to more 
advantage. At nine o'clock the doors of the house were opened, 
and from that time for about three or four hours the company con- 
tinued to pour into the assembly. At twelve the lower rooms were 
opened ; in these were prepared the sideboards, containing sweetmeats 
and a cold collation, in which elegance was more conspicuous than 
profusion. . . . The richness and brilliancy of the dresses were 
almost beyond imagination ; nor did any assembly ever exhibit a 
collection of more elegant and beautiful female figures. Among 



THE INFLUENCE OF 1(ETNOLDS ^ND QAINSBOROUGH 57 

them were Lady Waldegrave, Lady Pembroke, the Duchess of 
Hamilton, Mrs. Crewe, Mrs. Hodges, Lady Almeria Carpenter, 
&c. Some of the most remarkable figures were a Highlander (Mr. 
R. Conway) ; a double man, half miller, half chimney-sweeper (Sir R. 
Phillips) ; a Political Bedlamite, run mad for Wilkes and Liberty and 
No. 45 ; a figure of Adam in flesh-coloured silk, with an apron of 
fig-leaves ; a Druid (Sir W. W. Wynne) ; a figure of Somebody ; a 
figure of Nobody ; a running Footman, very richly dressed, with a 
cap set with diamonds, and the words, " Tuesday Night's Club " 
in the front (the Earl of Carlisle) ; His Royal Highness the Duke 
of Gloucester in the old English habit, with a star on the cloak ; 
Midas (Mr. James, the Painter) ; Miss Monckton, daughter to Lord 
Galloway, appeared in the character of an Indian Sultana, in a robe 
of cloth of gold and a rich veil. The seams of her habit were 
embroidered with precious stones, and she had a magnificent cluster 
of diamonds on her head ; the jewels she wore were valued at 
^30,000. The Duke of Devonshire was very fine, but in no par- 
ticular character. Captain Nugent, of the Guards, in the character 
of Mungo, greatly diverted the company. The Countess Dowager 
of Waldegrave wore a dress richly trimmed with beads and pearls, 
in the character of Jane Shore. Her Grace of Ancaster claimed 
the attention of all the company in the dress of Mandane. 
The Countess of Pomfret, in the character of a Greek Sultana, 
and the two Miss Fredericks, who accompanied her as Greek 
slaves, made a complete group. The Duchess of Bolton in the 
character of Diana, was captivating. Lord Edg b, in the char- 
acter of an Old Woman, was full as lovely as his lady in that 
of a Nun. Lady Stanhope, as Melpomene, was a striking fine 
figure ; Lady Augusta Stuart as a Vestal, and Lady Caroline as 
a Fille de Patmos, showed that true elegance may be expressed 
without gold and diamonds. The Chimney-sweeper, Quack Doctor, 
and a Friar acquitted themselves with much entertainment to the 
company." 

Within the next two years, however, Mrs. Cornelys' successful 
career was checked, and at the instigation of envious rivals she was 



58 ENGLISH SOCIETY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

prosecuted and fined. For another dozen years or more the house 
fitfully broke into splendour again, but with nothing of its former 
lustre, and it was at last demolished in 1788. Smith's engraving 
was published in 1781, but it is probable that the drawing was made 
somewhat earlier, though not as early as the really splendid period 
of this extraordinary resort of fashion. 



CHAPTER IV 
THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURY 

ROUGHLY speaking, our four chapters coincide with the four quarters 
of the century. The reigns of Anne and George I., as it happened, 
not only in themselves marked off the first quarter, to within a couple 
of years, but were fully accomplished before there was any sign of 
the quickening influence, or atmosphere, of Hogarth. But as Hogarth 
was alive and active beyond the middle of the second quarter, and 
his career fits in more nearly with the reign of George II., so 
Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Romney, to mention no others, who 
distinguished the third quarter, were still working well on into the 
fourth. By this time, however, the practice no less than the know- 
ledge of art was so widely extended, that whereas for the beginning 
of the century one searched in vain for adequate examples to illus- 
trate our subject, it has now become rather a matter of embarrassment 
what to choose out of such a multitude of charming, if not always 
very classical, specimens as may be seen in almost any shop window. 
Invention and industry had so multiplied the opportunities of inter- 
course, and accumulated such wealth for the nation, that art could 
not fail to find encouragement of a much more practical kind than 
the mere patronage of Royalty and a few of the nobility. For 
engraving the print, for instance, of Copley's excellent though by 
no means popular picture, "The Death of Chatham," Bartolozzi 
had no less than ^2000; while more than double the number of 
subscribers were entered for it than for the sensational " Harlot's 
Progress" of Hogarth. England had never been so rich, and the loss 
of the American Colonies, so far from ruining England, seems to 
have been the starting point of her present progress. " She rose 
from it," as Green observes, "stronger and greater than ever, and 

the next ten years saw a display of industrial activity such as the 

59 



60 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

world had never witnessed before. During the twenty years which 
followed she wrestled almost single-handed against the energy of the 
French Revolution as well as against the colossal force of Napoleonic 
tyranny, and came out of the one struggle unconquered and out of 
the other a conqueror." 

Society, in the meantime, went on much as it usually does when 
great events are stirring, and, whether or not the pen was mightier 
than the sword, the brush at this time was quite as busy as the 
cannon ; while Nelson was fitting himself for a national monument 
in Trafalgar Square, the fascinating Emma was no less readily en- 
gaged in being commemorated in records of a more perishable but 
quite as popular a quality, while of all the men who contributed 
to England's marvellous advancement at this period there are hardly 
more than one or two who are not, probably, better known by their 
portraits than for their achievements. Reynolds and Gainsborough 
had, in fact, created such a demand for good pictures that others 
had to supply it, and had set such an example that others had to 
follow it, so that while these two names are still the foremost during 
the greater part of the last quarter of the century, it is rather to 
some of the stars of the lesser magnitudes that our remaining pages 
should be devoted. Of these not a few have been made so familiar 
to the public of late years through the enterprise of the fashionable 
dealers, that the term " star " may seem to fit them in its theatrical 
rather than its celestial sense, and it is really rather difficult to say 
anything about them that is not common knowledge. Downman, 
for instance, whose delightful profiles are being raked out of every 
corner in England to be scrambled for at Christie's ; Cosway, Beechey, 
Plimer, Wheatley, Morland, Russell, and Raeburn, too, are names 
that the mere mention of is enough to rally all Bond Street ; and 
even Lawrence has fetched his thousands, and Hoppner his tens of 
thousands. All of these were, in one sense or another, painters of 
Society, and most, if not all of them, very good ones too ; while 
among the caricaturists are Gilray, Bunbury, and Rowlandson, whose 
collective works would of themselves tell us volumes about the Society 
of their time. But these are by no means the only ones, and there is 
still a great deal of talent that is waiting for fuller recognition. 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURT 61 

First, let us make our compliments to a lady who, besides 
penning a thousand descriptions of Society as she found it at the 
beginning of this last quarter of the century, might almost be supposed 
from the following eulogy to have painted at least one picture of 
it : " Thank you, my dear Fanny," writes Daddy Crisp to Miss 
Burney, " for your conversation piece at Sir James Lake's. If speci- 
mens of this kind had been preserved of the different tons that 
have succeeded one another for twenty centuries last past, how 
interesting would they have been ! To compare the vanities and 
puppyisms of the Greek and Roman, and Gothic, and Moorish, 
and ecclesiastic reigning fine gentlemen of the day with one another, 
and the present age, must be a high entertainment to a mind that 
has a turn for a mixture of contemplation and satire ; and to do 
you justice, Fanny, you paint well ; therefore send me more and 
more." 

This was written in 1776, only a year or two before Miss Burney's 
" Evelina " had done for fiction what Reynolds' " Admiral Keppel " 
had done for portrait painting. With "Evelina" the world starts 
afresh, and instead of watching with a sort of dim curiosity the 
strange adventures of Toms or Josephs, and the trials of Pamelas and 
Amelias, we find ourselves in the society of Evelina and her friends 
and acquaintances without feeling in the least out of date. It is 
like passing from a wilderness of rhubarb and horse-radish into a 
garden of roses and pinks. Page after page of Fanny Burney's 
diary might be quoted, and scene after scene from " Evelina," to show 
what English Society had become ; but there is no excuse for doing 
so in a book of this sort until Evelina and her authoress have been 
as effectually superseded in the hearts of English readers as she has 
superseded the roughshod sons of Pegasus who trampled the road 
before her. As students we can still read and admire the genius of 
Fielding and Smollett, but with the characters they delineate we have 
nothing in common. If I met Pamela in the street I do not for 
the life of me know what I should talk to her about, while as for 
Joseph Andrews or Peregrine Pickle, I should feel more inclined to hand 
them over to the servants. But Evelina ! The heart-strings jerk 
at the very thought ; while even Madame Duval might help one to 



62 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

pass a very amusing evening at Earl's Court. But let us see what 
our painters are doing. 

There is a letter of Charlotte Burney's published in Mrs. Ellis's 
edition of Fanny's early diary and correspondence that contains its 
own excuse for its being quoted here, not only as a description of 
Society, but also as mentioning one of the minor illustrators of the 
Society of his time, Edward Burney. " The masquerade at the 
Pantheon," she writes to her sister, on the loth April 1780, " was 
rather thinnish, owing, as they suppose, to so many people seeing 
masks but there was one person there I fancy you'll be a little 
surprised to hear of ... no other than Mr. Edward Burney papa 
gave him his Proprietor's Ticket, and the dress cost him nothing 
but a day's work, for he went as a native of Otaheite, so he cook'd 
up a dress out of Jemm's Otaheite merchandise. I contrived to 
go to York Street that night to tea, and saw his dress, which was 
a very good one, he went privately to Sir Joshua's and took a 
sketch of Omiah's dress, which he copied in his own pretty easily . . . 
[the further description of this it costs me a pang to omit] but I 
have something to tell you about Edward that I think you will not 
be displeased at. He has just finished three stain'd drawings in 
miniature, designs for ' Evelina ' and most sweet things they are. 
The design of the first volume is the scene of Ranelagh after the 
disaster of Madame Duval and Monsieur du Bois. He had just 
caught the moment when Madame French is going to dash the 
candle out of the Captain's hand ; he says he was very much puzzled 
how to give Madame Duval the beau-reste, but we think he has suc- 
ceeded delightfully. But Monsieur Slippery is my favourite figure. 
I do think it a most incomparable one indeed ! So miserably triste ! 
He has taken him shivering by the fire. Evelina is introduced into 
all three, and a most lovely creature he has made of her, but it's 
whimsical enough that there must certainly be a likeness between 
Edward's Evelina and Miss Streatfeild, as separately and apart (as 
Sir Anthony Branville says) Susan and I were both struck by the 
resemblance. The subject in the second volume is the part where 
Evelina is sitting in that dejected way, leaning her arm on the 
table, and Mr. Villars is watching her at the door before she 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURT 63 

perceives him. The design for the third volume is as affecting as 
that for the second, it is the scene between Evelina and her father 
when she is kneeling and he in an agony is turning from her. I 
think there can't be a greater proof of Edward's having read and 
felt every passage in the book than these drawings. My father is 
so pleased with them that he has shown them to Sir Joshua Reynolds 
and ask'd him whether there would be any impropriety in putting 
them into the Exhibition ? Sir Joshua highly approved of the pro- 
posal, and sure enough into the Exhibition they are to go, and Mr. 
Barry, who is mightily struck with them, has promised of his own 
accord to endeavour to procure a good place for them Sir Joshua 
was amazed that he could do anything original so well, as he had 
seen nothing but copies before of his doing he said some very 
handsome things of them, and was much pleased with the picture 
(that Edward had introduced into Mr. Villars' parlour) of Dr. 
Johnson, as he says he thinks it very natural for so good a man 
as Mr. Villars to have a value for Dr. Johnson. But pray, my 
dear Fanny, write me word of what you think of all this. It is a 
very popular subject, and they are to be inserted in the catalogue 
* Designs for Evelina.' ' 

Another illustrator of " Evelina " was John Hamilton Mortimer, 
R.A., an artist whose work has been unaccountably neglected. He 
was a native of Sussex, and when he came to London in 1760 he 
made a lucky hit in painting the Royal coach, for the King was so 
pleased with the public attention it attracted when he drove abroad 
in it that he gave Mortimer some encouragement. His rather 
loose habits are supposed to have interfered with his success, 
though Cunningham is probably nearer the mark in explaining that 
Mortimer lost patronage from want of skill or want of inclination 
(when painting portraits) " to dip his brush in the hues of heaven 
and soothe the fair or the vain, so that he had no chance of 
profitable success in that line." 

His etchings of Shakespearian and other subjects are, at least, as 
valuable as those of his contemporaries, Bartolozzi, Cipriani, and 
Angelica Kauffmann, while his picture of himself at the National 
Portrait Gallery is a great deal more interesting than the common 



64 ENGLISH SOCIErr OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

run, and shows him to have been a skilful and accomplished painter. 
The illustration opposite this page is reproduced from a drawing of 
a family group, in my own collection, that may possibly be a sketch 
for the picture mentioned in the Academy catalogue of 1778 as "a 
small family picture, full length," though it is more probably a 
suggestion for the large picture at Shardeloes of the Drake family, 
which Edwards mentions as having been painted in 1777 or 1778. 
The picture is widely different in detail, and contains three more 
men sons and sons-in-law of William Drake than the drawing ; 
but the general scheme is the same, including the father seated by 
the table, on which is a globe, and examining the plans of the house 
then newly built in such exquisite style by the brothers Adam. As 
this picture has never, I believe, been exhibited, it may be worth while 
to note a few of the points in which it differs from my drawing. 
In the first place, the arrangement of the background is similar, but 
instead of the sea view is a landscape, apparently the view from 
the house, of Amersham. The grouping of the furniture is the 
same, but the pieces themselves are not, and the floor is covered with 
an oriental carpet. Seated in the chair on our right is a gentleman 
in uniform, and between him and the table are two others standing. 
On the sofa on our left are two ladies, one with a tambour frame 
and the other with a spool of thread, while in the place of the dog 
there is an open work-basket. Behind the sofa is standing a gentle- 
man in black, presumably the Rev. John Drake, who was Rector 
of Amersham for fifty years. 

Before leaving " Evelina," we may mention a couple of Miss 
Burney's acquaintances, of whom one, at least, was a very consider- 
able figure as a portrait painter. This was Catherine Reid, whose 
skill in crayon portraits earned her the title of "The English 
Rosalba." Fanny Burney alludes to her as " the famous paintress," 
and records two visits to her and her niece, Miss Beatson, who 
was also an artist, which are perhaps worth quoting. " Miss Reid 
is shrewd and clever," she writes (in 1774, when Miss Reid must 
have been quite an old lady), " where she has any opportunity given 
her to make it known ; but she is so very deaf, that it is a fatigue 
to attempt any conversation with her. She is most exceedingly ugly, 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURT 65 

and of a very melancholy, or rather discontented, humour. . . , 
Miss Beatson is a very young and very fine girl, not absolutely 
handsome, yet infinitely attractive ; she is sensible, smart, quick, and 
comical ; and has not only an understanding which seems already to 
be mature, but a most astonishing genius for drawing, though never 
taught. She groups figures of children in the most ingenious, 
playful, and beautiful variety of attitudes and employments in a 
manner surpassing all credibility, but what the eye itself obtains : 
in truth she is a very wonderful girl." 

Miss Beatson married a couple of years later, which may 
possibly account for posterity hearing no more of her wonderful 
talent. Her husband was Charles Oakley, who was made a baronet 
in 1790, and Governor of Madras in 1794. 

In February 1775 Fanny paid another visit to Miss Reid, and 
gives an amusing account of her eccentricity, which, at that par- 
ticular moment, was centred (if I may say so) on the making of 
a petticoat. " Her crayon drawings," she notes, " nearly reach 
perfection ; their not standing appears to me the only inferiority 
they have to oil-colours ; while they are new nothing can be so 
soft, so delicate, so blooming. . . . She is a very clever woman, 
and in her profession has certainly very great merit ; but her turn 
of mind is naturally melancholy. . . . When the foul fiend is not 
tormenting her she is even droll and entertaining." 

Nelly Beatson was disobliging on this occasion, and refused to 
show her drawings, but "as we were going," Fanny continues, 
"Miss Reid called me, and said she wanted to speak to me. 'I 
have a favour to ask of you,' said she, * which is that you will sit 
to me in an attitude.' I burst out in laughter, and told her I was 
then in haste ; but would call soon and talk about it. I cannot 
imagine what she means ; however, if it is to finish any burlesque 
picture, I am much at her service." Unfortunately, she never did 
call on Miss Reid again. 

John Singleton Copley, whom we were fortunate enough to 
welcome in England a year or two before the Declaration of 
Independence, was content, like West before him and Whistler 
since, to stay with us ; and in the intervals between painting such 



66 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

momentous scenes as the death of Chatham, the French at St. 
Heller, or the "Arrest of the Five Members," endeared himself to his 
country's oppressors and their posterity by such charming family 
groups as that of the Sitwell family, which, by Sir George's kind 
permission, is here reproduced. 

That Copley was an able draughtsman is evident enough from 
his two large pictures in the National Gallery, and in the 
National Art Library at South Kensington is a series of his 
studies for the repulse of the floating batteries at Gibraltar, for 
which it is to be hoped that room will be found for exhibition 
when the new buildings are open. Most of his work is in 
America, where he is said to have painted between two and 
three hundred portraits and other pieces before he came to Europe, 
and whatever there may be in England is seldom seen. Considering 
how great a number of single portraits were painted, it is the 
more regrettable that we have not more examples of Copley, who 
was so excellent a composer of pictures of living people. It seems 
to have been a tradition in England that only gods and goddesses 
were suitable for painting in numbers, or scriptural characters, or 
heroes and heroines of drama and history, and the living men and 
women were only to be painted singly. How much more interest- 
ing Thornhill would have been if he had condescended to illustrate 
the scenes he lived in instead of the celestial and mythical groups 
by which he is now distantly recognised. How much more would 
Fuseli now be thought of if, instead of scenes from Shakespeare, he 
had painted the actual people he met. His drawings of con- 
temporary people, that occasionally come to the surface at Christie's, 
are full of charm and wonder, and could he have brought himself 
to earth and forsworn raw pork for supper, his pictures would 
probably be now as highly prized as those of any of his con- 
temporaries. 

Copley seems to have followed ZofFany in his fondness for 
family pictures, and Cunningham, after alluding to a very fine 
group of Copley himself, his wife and children, in which he says 
" there is much nature in the looks of the whole and some very 
fine colouring," goes on to mention an amusing instance of what 




c 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURT 67 

was required of the artist in this direction. A certain man came 
to him, and had himself and his wife and seven children all 
included in a family piece. " It wants but one thing," said the 
man, "and that is the portrait of my first wife." "But," said 
the artist, "she is dead, you know, sir what can I do? She is 
only to be admitted as an angel." " Oh no, not at all," answered 
the other, " she must come in as a woman ; no angels for me." 
The portrait was added ; but some time elapsed before the person 
came back. When he returned he had a strange lady on his arm. 
"I must have another cast of your hand, Copley," he said. "An 
accident befell my second wife : this lady is my third, and she 
is come to have her likeness included in the family picture." The 
painter complied ; and the likeness was introduced, and the husband 
looked with satisfaction on his three spouses. Not so the lady ; 
she remonstrated ; never was such a thing heard of out her 
predecessors must go. The artist painted them out accordingly, 
and had to bring an action at law to obtain payment for the 
portraits which he had obliterated. 

The picture of the painter and his family above mentioned is now 
in Boston, America. It was last seen in England at the Exhibition 
of 1862, where it was greatly admired for its "composition, drawing, 
force of expression, and fine colour." The Sitwell picture may 
readily be accorded praise for the same qualities, to which may be 
added another that is perhaps the rarest of all in these family groups, 
namely vivacity. To group a family in their natural surroundings 
sounds easy enough but how few have ever accomplished it 
successfully ! Holbein's- famous drawing of the More family in 
their house at Chelsea is one of the great examples, but one feels 
that they were all there for no other purpose than making a family 
record. Hals' Van Bereslyn family at the Louvre is in reality much 
more successful, for though one sees that the parents knew they were 
sitting there to be painted, their children are so naturally occupied 
that one feels, or at least imagines, they did not know it. Two of 
them are occupied with a young bird that has been snatched from 
its nest in the wood at whose edge the family are grouped. The 
others are playing with flowers, while the two adult women are 



68 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY 

engrossed with the children. Now this is exactly what would 
happen if, as is intended by the painter to be imagined, he made a 
sketch of them just as they were. The parents, who commissioned 
the work, are conscious of being painted. The children are not ; 
while the grown-up women whether they are nurses or other- 
are too much occupied with the children to know whether they 
are conscious or not. The result is a perfectly natural picture, 
brimming with life. 

Copley, it need hardly be said, was not of the same rank as 

Hals ; but in this picture of the Sitwells we can see that he had 

something of the secret of making a picture live of itself besides 

charming the beholder. He takes Miss Sitwell and stands her in 

the best light at the open window in one of the new rooms at 

Renishaw, through which a charming view of the North Derbyshire 

hills makes an effective background for her, on either side being 

the plain green wall of the room, pink window curtains, marble 

chimney-piece, and a pot of flowers to relieve a dark corner. He 

observes that she is delightfully dressed, in a cool and airy white 

frock, low-necked, and is wearing the most enchanting hat with a 

diaphanous brim, which he can make into a nimbus, though without 

stopping out the feathers and ribbons that can be seen through it. 

He admires her striped sash, which he finds very useful in breaking 

the monotony of the white frock, and does not object to her holding 

an open music book as a hint of her accomplishments. Meantime 

her two little brothers had been building a card house on the floor ; 

and if it was not so nearly in front of her when they began it, it 

is now very usefully placed in the foreground, and is obviously more 

interesting than the wheelbarrow that balances it. Hart, the 

youngest boy, appears to have been lured from architecture to the 

true but baser uses of the cards, and to have selected a thumping 

hand. The card house has reached the second storey, under the 

able attentions of Francis, when in comes Sitwell, the son and heir, 

from riding, and throwing his hat on the floor, by way of deference 

to his sister, of whom he takes no other notice for the moment, 

he proceeds jocularly to overthrow his little brothers' card house 

with his whip. Now it is the recognised characteristic of eldest 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURT 69 

brothers in all ages to slight their sisters, and domineer over their 
little brothers. They are encouraged in it by their parents, from 
generation to generation, until it has become an hereditary trait by 
which they are easily distinguished. Consciously or not, Copley 
uses this characteristic in painting his family group, and the effect 
is a living picture, and not a mere collection of likenesses ; one feels 
that if this was not actually the way the picture came to be com- 
posed, it might very well have been. As it happens, Sitwell, the 
heir, is evidently a very charming young fellow, and his instinctive 
domineering is not of a nature to be the least resented by his small 

D J 

brothers, who obviously love him very much. Copley, too, seems 
to have regarded him as a more interesting figure than his sister, 
though she has the place of honour, but the whole thing is so 
nicely balanced, both as a picture and as a family record, that it 
would be difficult to find a better exemple of what a family picture 
ought to be. One would like to have had Garrick's opinion 
upon it. 

Another delightful group of the Sitwell family, which I have 
very kindly been allowed to reproduce, is the silhouette opposite 
page 68. This, I am informed, bears an unmistakable resemblance 
in some of its details to a similar group that was reproduced in The 
Girls Realm in June 1899, as the work of an artist named Thonard, 
who lived at 18 Wells Street, taught drawing, and took likenesses, 
" singly and in groups, in the genteelest taste." His technique 
meccanismo would be a fitter term, as he is supposed to have used 
some kind of machine was to trace real shadows, and afterwards 
reduce and compose them into groups. 

Copley's picture of the three youngest daughters of George III., 
which is now at Buckingham Palace, is still more brilliant than that 
of the Sitwell children. For Copley was certainly not the sort of 
man to let Royalty interfere with youth, and though the picture 
was to be something more than an ordinary family portrait, the 
first thing the artist evidently did was to make friends with the 
children, even if, as is recorded, he wearied the attendants, the dogs, 
and even the parrot, with the extraordinary pains he took in 
painting the picture. The youngest, about two years old this 



yo ENGLISH SOCIETY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

picture was also painted in 1785 is seated in what Mr. Lionel 
Cust rather timidly describes as " a wooden chair or go-cart," 
but which is evidently the forerunner of what is now vulgarly 
known as a " pram," a stout wooden contrivance on four wheels, 
drawn by a handle like a bath chair, and large and substantial 
enough for the second sister to perch herself somehow on the back 
of it behind the hood. The eldest girl is holding the handle with 
her right hand, while in her left she brandishes a tambourine, turning 
towards the baby ; so that the whole composition is a sort of trium- 
phal procession about to start ; and the rowdy-dow is accentuated by 
the enjoyment of the three dogs. If I have rather elaborated the 
descriptions of this and the Sitwell picture, it is because it seems 
to me that the significance of the various figures in these composi- 
tions of Copley's, which proves to be the most important factor in 
their success, is apt to be overlooked; for in the "Old Masters" 
catalogue the two principal figures in the Sitwell pictures are actually 
described as seated, while even Mr. Cust speaks of the Princess Sophia 
as standing behind her infant sister, whereas it is quite evident that 
she is seated on the back of the cart unless indeed she is standing 
on one leg and the way she is brought into relation with the baby 
is not only very happy in itself, but adds prodigiously to the vivacity 
of the whole group. 

About Zoffany and his conversation pieces there is less need to 
particularise, as his name is already so familiar if only from Gilbert's 
immortal couplet in the Major-General's song 

" I can tell a genuine Raphael from Gerard Dow's or Zoffany's. 
I know the Croaking Chorus from the ' Frogs ' of Aristophanes," 

while his pictures are fetching higher and higher prices when they 
come up at Christie's. He is better known, in fact, as a painter of 
conversation pieces whether an English drawing-room, a cock-fight 
at Lucknow, or the Tribuna at Florence than of anything else. 
That he was not an Englishman gives his work the greater value, 
as all Englishmen seem to have been ashamed of painting their 
surroundings as they actually were, and the work of Laroon, Mercier, 
Gravelot, Boitard, or Copley, who, coming fresh to these barbarous 




CHILDREN UK GKOKCK III. 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURT 71 

shores, were so struck with the nai've simplicity of English life that 
their renderings of it exactly as it appeared to them, are far more 
convincing in their actual representation than those of Reynolds, or 
even Hogarth. 

To Zoffany, the prim English parlour must have seemed fasci- 
nating, and he paints it with a zest that is entirely absent from 
the efforts of Augustus Egg, or of the pre-Raphaelite younger- 
brotherhood, who merely used it as a background for some senti- 
mental vapouring, which at the moment, perhaps, may have passed 
for inspiration, and has now a certain charm that we miss in the 
glare of the modern competition for sensationalism. For Zoffany, 
the parlour was something more than a background ; it was a 
machine that contained the people he was painting ; and it not only 
contained them, but it also summed them up. It was the same 
with the drawing-room save that there was, as might be supposed, 
less of the machine about it than the setting for a somewhat grander 
scene ; but the point is the same his people occupy the room they 
happen to be in, with precisely the air of being discovered there 
without knowing it, and, consequently, without any appearance of 
having been arranged into a lively but artificially natural group 
such as we have seen in the works of Hogarth and Copley. 
How true this is, if indeed any one doubted it, is evident when 
one sees how little, in effect, Zoffany's pictures lose by repro- 
duction. Of all the illustrations here given, there are few as 
successful as these two of Zoffany's, and of the two it will hardly 
be guessed which was photographed with every modern appliance 
during the present year, and which with the imperfect apparatus 
of exactly forty years ago. Both are life-like representations of 
what was going on in a room at a particular moment ; and while 
Hogarth could hardly conceal a certain skill and sometimes a 
kind of bravado in disregarding the pompous conventionalities, 
and while Reynolds must cast his eyes up to Heaven, or invoke 
the spirit of Paul Veronese, before he could do justice to the 
nobility or the charm of his illustrious sitters, this cold-blooded 
but skilful foreigner depicted the familiar life of this great nation's 
nobles with as much unconcern as if they were so many trades- 



72 ENGLISH SOCIETY OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

men and their families whom he was observing unperceived through 
the keyhole. 

How successful, and indeed how charming, Zoffany could be 
may be seen from the examples here given, which are from pictures 
belonging to the Countess Cowper and Lord Sherborne respectively. 
In the former we see George, third Earl Cowper, and his Countess, 
Mr. and Mrs. Gore and the two Misses Gore, as naturally grouped 
as though Zoffany had simply reproduced a kodak snapshot taken 
in passing the window, out of which one of the younger ladies, 
not being engaged in the concert, and tiring for the moment of 
her book, has happened to catch sight of him as she looks up. 
The other, if it is by comparison a little less spontaneous in 
effect than the first, is still extraordinarily natural and unaffected. 
It represents James Lennox Naper (afterwards Button) and his 
second wife Jane, daughter of Christopher Bond, their son James, 
first Lord Sherborne, and their daughter Jane Mary, who married 
Thomas Coke, first Earl of Leicester. No wonder that pictures 
like this were not only popular, but even acceptable to the fastidious 
Walpole. "I dined to-day at the exhibition of pictures with the 
Royal Academicians," he writes to Sir Horace Mann, on 22nd April 
1775. "We do not beat Titian or Guido yet. Zoffany has sent 
over a wretched Holy Family. He is the Hogarth of Dutch 
painting, but no more than Hogarth can shine out of his own way. 
He might have drawn the Holy Family if he had seen them in 
statu quo."" In criticising the Tribuna picture, again, he concludes : 
" However, it is a great and curious work, and Zoffany might have 
been better employed. His talent is representing natural humour ; 
I look upon him as a Dutch painter polished and civilised. He 
finishes as highly, and renders nature as justly, and does not degrade 
it as the Flemish school did. . . ." 

Of the sporting proclivities of the English in this century there are 
fewer examples in contemporary art than might be supposed, and such 
as there are can hardly be regarded as generally illustrative of Society, 
but are rather interesting in their respective departments of sports. 
Cricket, as we have seen, was depicted by Hayman, and skating 
by Julius Caesar Ibbetson, a painter who came within measurable dis- 




SKATING. From a print after the painting by J. C. Ibheison. 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURY 73 

tance of Richard Wilson in landscape, and quite equalled Morland in 
depicting rural life. Sartorius is a name familiar to lovers of racing, 
as well as Wootton. The example selected in this chapter, by William 
Mason, is one of a pair of engravings that are not very widely 
known ; and another by the same hand, the subject of which is a 
coach being driven through the high street of a county town, is 
quite as rare. All three of these are of a quality and spirit that 
excite some surprise at Mason's name not being better known, and 
if the sporting faternity were not so easily pleased with the repro- 
ductions of ridiculous coaching and racing prints of the early 
nineteenth century that now fetch such high prices, it is possible 
that his work might have a little more of the recognition it 
undoubtedly deserves. 

Equestrian portraits were so rarely painted, and so pompously, that 
the work of George Stubbs is more than usually interesting, especially 
when it happens to be a conversation piece or at least a family group 
as well as the mere delineation of a horse. One of his most 
charming pictures is that of Josiah Wedgwood and his family, painted 
in 1780, now in the possession of Mr. Cecil Wedgwood, who has 
kindly allowed it to be reproduced. The scene is Etruria Hall, and 
in the distance may be seen the smoke of the pottery, while at Josiah's 
elbow is a specimen of its production. The children are Susannah 
(Mrs. R. W. Darwin), John, Josiah, Tom, Kitty, Marianne, and 
Sarah the last-named being the child by the go-cart, who was so 
little satisfied with her likeness that for many years she had the picture 
turned with its face to the wall. 

Another of Stubbs' family pieces, that of Lord Ilchester, Mr. 
Digby, and Mr. James, who are represented as resting during the 
enjoyment of partridge-shooting, was exhibited with the National 
Portraits in 1867; while in the following year were shown two more 
which he painted for the Duke of Richmond, the one a shooting 
party with Lord Holland, Lord Albemarle, and others, the other of 
the Duchess of Richmond and Lady Louisa Lennox on horseback 
watching a string of racehorses training. These were painted in 
1760, and in 1762 he also did a large picture of Lord Albemarle 
embarking to the Havana expedition ; and in the same year a picture 



74 ENGLISH SOCIETT OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURT 

at Eaton called " The Grosvenor Hunt," with portraits of Lord 
Grosvenor, his brother Thomas Grosvenor, Sir Roger Mostyn, and 
others. His chief occupation, however, was in painting horses, before 
he devoted himself to the publication of " The Anatomy of the 
Horse," and his price for an equine portrait was no less than a 
hundred guineas. A very charming subject, entitled " Refreshment 
at St. James'," by Charles Ansell, was engraved by his son, George 
Townley Stubbs, in 1789. 

Even to mention all of the charming illustrators of various social 
scenes at the close of the century is hardly possible in so slight a 
sketch as this must necessarily be, and the examples by Dighton, 
Russell, M. Haughton, and Edward Dayes which have been selected 
for reproduction are but a bare indication of the sort of work that was 
now being accomplished by artists whose names are comparatively 
unknown ; but to Rowlandson, of all his contemporaries, it is only just 
to pay some passing tribute in taking leave of our subject ; for while 
our two illustrations, taken from a print and a drawing kindly lent 
by Mr. G. Harland Peck, certainly show him at his best, it would 
require not two only but a couple of score to give any adequate 
idea of how wide a field his " best " covered, when he was giving 
free expression to his wonderful feeling for all he saw around him, 
and was not working simply for the publisher. His pen never 
seemed to tire a reed pen, whose outlines were filled in with 
the most delicate washes of yellow, pink and blue, that the modern 
water-colourist seems to know nothing about and we can follow 
him as he flits like a bee over the garden of rural England, lighting 
on a hundred little wild-flowers of country life, that, but for him, 
we should never have noticed. To the general public, indeed, 
Rowlandson's work as a caricaturist is too well known to be very 
dear, and his political and social broad-sheets, though they earned 
him enough money and fame in the coarse clamour of the Regency, 
have considerably effaced his real talent for depicting everyday life 
with a charm and naturalness that have hardly been equalled by any 
English artist, not even forgetting Gainsborough and Morland. 
Much of his work belongs, of course, to the nineteenth century, 
and his influence on coloured illustration, so industriously fostered 



THE CLOSE OF THE CENTURT 75 

by Ackerman, has been well demonstrated in Mr. Martin Hardie's 
recent book ; but of his earlier work, and especially that portion of 
it which was purely spontaneous, the collector alone knows anything. 
As it is, the nation may be content that some half-dozen and 
those by no means of the best of his sketches are to be seen at 
the South Kensington Museum, and can hardly grumble at his name 
being unknown at the National Gallery. Were it probable, or even 
possible, that another benefactor like Mr. Tate should realise how 
his countrymen appreciate a gift, or even enjoy a legacy, he could 
find fewer objects that would yield more agreeably surprising results 
than the formation of a public gallery of paintings and drawings 
by minor English artists. Over its portico might be inscribed the 
stanza from Roubiliac's poem above quoted : 

" Ne peus-tu pas, en admirant 
Les Maitres de la Grece et ceux de P Italic, 
Rendre justice egakment 
A ceux qua nourris ta Patrie ? " 



INDEX 



ADDISON, Joseph, i, 4, 20 
Angelis, Peter, 2 
Angelo, 42, 43 
Anne, Queen, i, 4, 6 
Ansell, Charles, 74 

BARTOLOZZI, Francesco, 59, 63 
Beatson, Nelly, 64, 65 
Beaufort, Duke of, 15 
Beechey, Sir William, 
"Beggar's Opera," 17-19, 20 
Benoist, A., 27, 36 
Boit, Charles, 5, 6 
Boitard, Louis Peter, 31, 32, 33, 70 
Bolingbroke, Viscount, 13 
Boyne, Viscount, 25 
Bridgwater, Lady, 12 
Bunbury, Henry William, 60 
Burney, Charlotte, 62 

Edward, 62 

Fanny, 55, 61-64 

CANALETTO, Antonio, 31, 32 

Cardigan, Lord. See Montagu, Duke of 

Carlisle House, 55 

Chardin, Jean Simeon, 27, 38 

Chesterfield, Earl of, 21 

Gibber, Colley, 21 

Cipriani, Giovanni Battista, 63 

Clogher, Bishop of, 14 

Collett, John, 53 

Copley,. John Singleton, 59, 65, 70 

Cornelys, Mrs., 55, 56, 57 

Cosway, Richard, 60 

" Cowper Family " (Zofifany's), 72 

Cremorne Gardens, 30 

Crisp, Samuel, 61 

Cunningham, Allan, 47, 48, 63 

DEFOE, Daniel, 4 
Downman, John, 60 

EUGENE, Prince, 6 
"Evelina," 29, 61, 62, 63 



FABER, John, the younger, 26, 37 
Fielding, Henry, 20 
Fountaine, Sir Andrew, 24 
Frederick, Prince of Wales, 37 

GAINSBOROUGH, Thomas, 40-47, 59, 74 
Garrick, David, 47, 48 
George, Prince, of Denmark, 6 
George I., n 

II., 32, 33 

HI., 3i,36, 37. 
Gilray, James, 60 
Goldar, John, 53 
Goldsmith, Oliver, 51, 52 
Gonson, Sir John, 21 
Grafton, Duke of, 33 
Grantham, Lord, 33 
Gravelot, Hubert Frangois, 35, 41, 70 
Grignon, Charles, 28 

HALS, Franz, 67 

Hamilton, Lady, 60 

Hampton Court, I, 33, 35 

Harley, Edward, second Earl of Oxford, I 

Hayman, Francis, 28, 33, 41, 72 

Haywood, Mrs., 4 

Hell Fire Club, 2, 3 

Hervey, Lord, 33 

Higgins, Mrs., 14 

Highmore, Joseph, 27, 33, 36 

Hogarth, William, 20-26, 33, 59, 71 

Holbein, 67 

Hoppner, John, 60 

Hudson, Thomas, 26, 44 

Hyde, Catherine, 12 

Hyde Park, 9 

IBBETSON, Julius Caesar, 72 

JERVAS, Charles, II, 12, 26 
Johnson, Dr., 9, 12, 63 
Jones Collection, 36 



77 



78 

KAUFFMANN, Angelica, 63 

Knapton, George, 44 

Kneller, Sir Godfrey, 4, 6, n, 13 

LAGUERRE, 6 

Laroon, Marcellus, 6, 7, 70 

the younger, 6, 34 
Liotard, John Stephen, 26 
Lovat, Lord, 23 

MALL, The, 9 
Malone, Edmund, 42 
Manley, Mrs., 4 
Maratti, Carlo, 12 
Marlborough, Duke of, I, 2, 39 

Duchess of, i, 2, 13 

Masham, Lady, 13, 14 
Mason, William, 73 
Mercier, Philip, 37, 3 8 , 44, 7 
Montagu, Duke of, 34 
Montagu House, 34, 35 
Morland, George, 60, 73, 74 
Mortimer, John Hamilton, 63 

NELSON, Lord, 60 
Nichols, John, 21-23 

OAKLEY, Sir Charles, 65 
Orkney, Countess of, 13 
Ormond, Duke of, 6, 13, 14 
Duchess, 13, 14 

" PAMELA," 27, 28, 36, 61 
Parr, R., 28 
Pepys, Samuel, 30 
Plimer, Andrew, 60 
"Polite Conversations," 15-17 
Pope, Alexander, 20 
Pratt, Dr., 14 
Prior, Matthew, 14 

QUIN, James, 42 

RAEBURN, Sir Henry, 60 
Ramsay, Allan, 45 



INDEX 



Ranelagh, 31, 32,49, 51 

Reid, Catherine, 64, 65 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 26, 40, 59, 63, 71 

Richardson, Jonathan, 26 

Samuel, 26 

Rimbault, Dr., 56 
Romney, George, 47, 59, 60 
Roubiliac, L. F., 41, 75 
Rowlandson, Thomas, 60, 74 
Russell, John, 60 

SARTORIUS, 73 

Satirical Prints, 2, 3, 31 

Saussure, Caesar de, 7, 8, 9, 10 

Simon, John, 37 

"Sitwell Family" (Copley's), 66-68 

Smith, John Raphael, 54, 55, 58 

Steele, Richard, i, 4, 20 

"Stella, Journal to," 13, 14, 15 

Strode Family, 23 

Stubbs, George, 73 

Swift, Dean, I, 12, 13, 14 

TEMPEST, Pierce, 7 
Thames, the, 9 
Thonard, 69 
Tillemans, Peter, 2 
Truchy, L., 27, 28, 36 

VANLOO, John Baptist, 26, 34 
Vauxhall Gardens, 30, 49, 51 
Vertue, George, 31, 38, 44 

WALPOLE, Horace, i, 4, n, 26, 28, 32, 45, 

49,55 

Watteau, Antoine, i 
Wharton, Duke of, 35 
Wheatley, Francis, 60 
Wild, Jonathan, 17 
Wootton, John, 73 

YARMOUTH, Lady, 32 
ZOFFANY, John, 22, 66, 70-72 



Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON 6* Co. 

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Edinburgh &f London 



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THE PORTFOLIO MONOGRAPHS, No. 47 

With Pour Illustrations in Colours and Gold, and many others. 
Price $s. nett, or in doth js. nett. 

THE TOWER OF LONDON 

BY THE REV. CANON BENHAM, D.D., F.S.A. 

Author of " Medi(Eval London" " Old St. Paul's Cathedral" &c. 

r I V HE Tower of London is the most interesting fortress in Great Britain ; it has a 
history equalled in interest by few fortresses in the world. The Acropolis at 
Athens and the Capitol at Rome are far more ancient, but they are fortresses no 
longer. "The only rival in this respect that occurs to me," says Canon Benham, "is 
the massive tower at the Western Gate of Jerusalem. It was probably built by king 
David, and enlarged by Herod, and it is a military castle at this day. So is our 
Tower, and it was built for that use." 

Of the buildings of the Tower, and of the additions made by successive Kings, 
Canon Benham's monograph gives a detailed account ; and he tells also the story of 
the events which have happened within its walls, linking it so closely with the history 
of England, the scenes of chivalry and tragedy for ever associated with the great 
fortress, palace, and prison. 

PLATES IN COLOURS AND GOLD 

From MSS. at the British Museum 

The Tower of London. From the Poems of Charles, Duke of Orleans. 

A Tournament. From the Romance of the Sire Jehan de Saintre. 

An Assault on a Fortress. From Boccaccio de Casibus Virorum et Foeminarum illustrium. 

Artillery of the Fifteenth Century. From " The Chronicles of England," Vol. III. 

OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS 



Vaulted Room in the White Tower, in which the 

Rack stood. 
A Cell in the Bloody Tower. J. WYKEHAM 

ARCHER. 
Building a Gateway. From a MS. of Le Tresor 

des Histoires. 
Men-at-Arms Crossing a Drawbridge. From a 

MS. of Les Chroniques d'Angleterre. 
The Prisoners' Walk. C. J. RICHARDSON. 
The Wakefield Tower. C. TOMKINS. 
Traitor's Gate, from without. C. TOMKINS. 
Traitor's Gate, from within. From an old en- 
graving. 
The Collegiate Church of St. Katherine, looking 

west. J. CARTER. 
The Gothic Altarpiece in the Collegiate Church 

of St. Katherine. B. T. POUNCEY. 
A Room in the Beauchamp Tower, with Prisoners' 

Inscriptions on the Walls. 
Banquet given by Richard II. From a MS. of 

"The Chronicles of England." 
An Act of Arms before the King and Queen. 

From a MS. of the Romance of the Sire 

Jehan de Saintre. 
Queen in a Horse Litter, attended by her Ladies 

on Horseback. From a MS. of Froissart's 

Chronicles. 



The Tower and Old London Bridge. J. MAURER. 

The Tower, from the Thames. E. DUNCAN. 

The Moat. J. MAURER. 

Gateway of the Bloody Tower. F. NASH. 

The City Barges at the Tower Stairs. W. 

PARROTT. 
South Aisle of St. John's Chapel. J. WYKEHAM 

ARCHER. 
Staircase of the White Tower. J. WYKEHAM 

ARCHER. 
The Salt Tower, and part of the Ancient Ballium. 

J. WYKEHAM ARCHER. 
The Tower and Mint, from Tower Hill. T. S. 

BOYS. 

The Execution of the Earl of Strafford. HOLLAR. 
The Seven Bishops taken to the Tower. From a 

Dutch etching of the time. 
Indian Elephant and Rhinoceros brought over in 

1686. P. VANDER BERGE. 
Lions' Dens in the Tower. From a Drawing 

made in 1779- 
The Beauchamp Tower, and St. Peter's Chapel. 

P. JUSTYNE. 

The Governor's House. C. J. RICHARDSON. 
The Tower, showing the East Outer Ballium. 

H. HODGE. 
A Plan of the Tower. Drawn about 1861. 



LONDON: SEELEY & CO. LIMITED, 38 GREAT RUSSELL STREET 

i 



THE PORTFOLIO MONOGRAPHS, No. 46 

With 4 Illuminations in Colours and Gold, and 33 other Illustrations. 
Sewed, $s. nett, or in cloth, gilt top, JS. nett. 

THE CATHEDRAL 
BUILDERS IN ENGLAND 

BY EDWARD S. PRIOR, M.A., F.S.A. 

Author of " A History of Gothic Art in England," &c. 

In this volume Mr. Prior treats of the Great English Mediaeval Cathedrals, with 
special reference to the men by whom they were designed, and the craftsmen by 
whom they were erected. He thus characterises the successive periods of Cathedral 
building in England : 

1. Norman, Benedictine, " Romanesque." 

2. Angevin, Neomonastic, " Transitional to Gothic." 

3. Insular, Episcopal, " Early English." 

4. Continental, Regal, "The Summit of Gothic." 

5. English, Aristocratic, " Decorated." 

6. After the Black Death : Official, " Perpendicular." 

7. Fifteenth Century : Parochial and Trading, " Perpendicular." 

8. Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries : the Craftsman and the Architect. 

9. Nineteenth Century : the Restorer and Revivalist. 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

MINIATURES FROM ILLUMINATED MSS. IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM, PRINTED IN COLOURS. 
Christ in Glory. From a Missal of the Fourteenth Century. 

The Angels with the Seven Vials. From an Apocalypse of the Fourteenth Century. 
Bishop carrying the Sacrament. From a Lectionary of the Fifteenth Century. 
Group of Bishops. From a Psalter of the Fifteenth Century. 

OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS 



Westminster Abbey, Confessor's Chapel. BOYCE. 
Westminster Abbey, N. Ambulatory. NASH. 
Canterbury Cathedral, from the S. HOLLAR. 
Durham Cathedral, from the River. DANIELL. 
Durham Cathedral, from the West. COTMAN. 
Winchester Cathedral, N. Transept. BLORE. 
Norwich Cathedral, Nave. F. MACKENZIE. 
Canterbury Cathedral, N. Aisle of Choir. G. 

CATTERMOLE. 
Wells Cathedral, Arches under the Central 

Tower. GARLAND. 

Wells Cathedral, N.W. Tower. J. H. GIBBONS. 
Chichester Cathedral, S.E. View. GARLAND. 
Southwark Cathedral, Nave. DIBDEN. 
Salisbury Cathedral, Small Transept. F. 

MACKENZIE. 

York Minster, from the North. ED. BLORE. 
York Minster, North Transept. GARLAND. 
Lincoln Cathedral, from the West. DE WINT. 
Lincoln Cathedral, the Chancel. GARLAND. 



Lincoln Cathedral, from the East. HOLLAR. 
Salisbury Cathedral, the Chapter House. F. 

MACKENZIE. 

Salisbury Cathedral, from Cloisters. TURNER. 
Exeter Cathedral, from the S.E. S. RAYNER. 
Ely Cathedral, the Octagon. GARLAND. 
Gloucester Cathedral, Presbytery. J. HAROLD 

GIBBONS. 

Gloucester Cathedral, Cloisters. GARLAND. 
York Minster, East End. E. MACKENZIE. 
Winchester Cathedral, West Front. GARLAND. 
York Minster, Choir. F. MACKENZIE. 
Sherborne Minster. CONSTABLE. 
St. George's Chapel, Windsor, from S. HOLLAR. 
St. George's Chapel, Windsor, Interior of Choir. 

HOLLAR. 

St. Paul's Cathedral, West Front. T. MALTON. 
St. Paul's Cathedral, Interior of Choir. R. 

TREVITT. 
Truro Cathedral, from the South-East. 



"It is satisfactory to find the subject approached after a masterly and in many respects an original 
fashion. This book is brightened by various able reproductions of some of the best old engravings of 
England's minsters." Athencsum. 

" To not a few every page will be a delight." Church Times. 

LONDON: SEELEY & CO. LIMITED, 38 GREAT RUSSELL STREET 

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