Posts Tagged ‘Charles Alfred Stothard’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency (I include those who were born before 1811 and who died after 1795), today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Charles Churchill (of Chalfont)

Charles Churchill (of Chalfont) was the only son of Lieutenant-General Charles Churchill by the actress Anne Oldfield. His grandfather, also Charles Churchill, was a British army officer and brother of the 1st Duke of Marlborough.

At the 1741 general election he was returned to the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the borough of Stockbridge in Hampshire, and held the seat until the next election, in 1747. At the 1747 election he was returned as an MP for Milborne Port, but it was a double return and Churchill was not one of those seated. At the 1754 general election he was elected as an MP for Great Marlow in Buckinghamshire, and held that seat until the next election, in 1761.

He married Lady Maria Walpole, daughter of Robert Walpole. Their daughter Mary became the second wife of Charles Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan, and had issue.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Thomas Stothard
17 August 1755 – 27 April 1834


Thomas Stothard

Thomas Stothard was born in London, the son of a well-to-do innkeeper in Long Acre A delicate child, he was sent at the age of five to a relative in Yorkshire, and attended school at Acomb, and afterwards at Tadcaster and at Ilford, Essex. Showing talent for drawing, he was apprenticed to a draughtsman of patterns for brocaded silks in Spitalfields. In his spare time, he attempted illustrations for the works of his favourite poets. Some of these drawings were praised by Harrison, the editor of the Novelist’s Magazine. Stothard’s master having died, he resolved to devote himself to art.

In 1778 he became a student of the Royal Academy, of which he was elected associate in 1792 and full academician in 1794. In 1812 he was appointed librarian to the Academy after serving as assistant for two years. Among his earliest book illustrations are plates engraved for Ossian and for Bell’s Poets. In 1780, he became a regular contributor to the Novelist’s Magazine, for which he produced 148 designs, including his eleven illustrations to The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle (by Tobias Smollett) and his graceful subjects from Clarissa and The History of Sir Charles Grandison (both by Samuel Richardson).

From 1786, Thomas Fielding, a friend of Stothard’s and engraver, produced engravings using designs by Stothard, Angelica Kauffman, and of his own. Arcadian scenes were especially esteemed. Fielding realized these in colour, using copper engraving, and achieved excellent quality. Stothard’s designs had an exceptional aesthetic appeal.

He designed plates for pocket-books, tickets for concerts, illustrations to almanacs, and portraits of popular actors. These are popular with collectors for their grace and distinction. His more important works include illustrations for:

  • Two sets for Robinson Crusoe, one for the New Magazine and one for Stockdale’s edition
  • The Pilgrim’s Progress (1788)
  • Harding’s edition of Goldsmith’s Vicar of Wakefield (1792)
  • The Rape of the Lock (1798)
  • The works of Solomon Gessner (1802)
  • William Cowper’s Poems (1825)
  • The Decameron

His figure-subjects in Samuel Rogers’s Italy (1830) and Poems (1834) demonstrate that even in old age, his imagination remained fertile and his hand firm.

Art historian Ralph Nicholson Wornum estimated that Stothard’s designs number five thousand and, of these, about three thousand were engraved. His oil pictures are usually small. His colouring is often rich and glowing in the style of Rubens, who Stothard admired. The Vintage, perhaps his most important oil painting, is in the National Gallery. He contributed to John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery, but his best-known painting is the Procession of the Canterbury Pilgrims, in Tate Britain, the engraving from which, begun by Luigi and continued by Niccolo Schiavonetti and finished by James Heath, was immensely popular. The commission for this picture was given to Stothard by Robert Hartley Cromek, and was the cause of a quarrel with his friend William Blake. It was followed by a companion work, the Flitch of Bacon, which was drawn in sepia for the engraver but was never carried out in colour.

In addition to his easel pictures, Stothard decorated the grand staircase of Burghley House, near Stamford in Lincolnshire, with subjects of War, Intemperance, and the Descent of Orpheus in Hell (1799–1803); the library of Colonel Johnes’ mansion of Hafod, in North Wales, with a series of scenes from Froissart and Monstrelet painted in imitation of relief (1810); and the cupola of the upper hall of the Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh (later occupied by the Signet Library), with Apollo and the Muses, and figures of poets, orators, etc. (1822). He prepared designs for a frieze and other sculptural decorations for Buckingham Palace, which were not executed, owing to the death of George IV. He also designed a shield presented to the Duke of Wellington by the merchants of London, and executed a series of eight etchings from the various subjects that adorned it.

He married Rebecca Watkins in 1783. They had eleven children, six of whom – five sons and one daughter – survived infancy. They lived in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, until 1794, when they moved to a house at 28 Newman Street, of which Stothard had bought the freehold. His wife died in 1825. His sons included Thomas, accidentally shot dead in about 1801; the antiquarian illustratorCharles Alfred Stothard, who also predeceased his father; and Alfred Joseph Stothard, medallist to George IV.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Charles Alfred Stothard
5 July 1786 – 27 May 1821


Charles Alfred Stothard

Charles Alfred Stothard was born in London, the son of the painter, Thomas Stothard. He was educated at a school run by a Mr Dearne, and then became a private pupil of the Rev Robert Burnside. He studied at the Royal Academy from 1807, and began his first historical picture, the Death of Richard II in Pomfret Castle three years later. His depiction of the king was based closely on the effigy on his tomb in Westminster Abbey.

He soon abandoned the historical painting for a project which he hoped would be more remunerative, The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain. He published the first part in 1811; an accompanying advertisement explained that its purpose was to supply historical painters with accurate details of costume up to the reign of Henry VIII, to illustrate history and biography, and to provide accurate information on dress for productions of the plays of Shakespeare. During 1815 he travelled Britain making drawings for Daniel Lysons’ Magna Britannica. In that year he was appointed historical draughtsman to the Society of Antiquaries, who sent him to Bayeux to make coloured drawings of the tapestry for publication in the series Vetusta Monumenta. He made three visits to Northern France in 1816–19 for this project. On the first of these he also discovered the location of the monuments of the Plantagenets, which had been moved when the chapel at the abbey of Fontevraud in which they were housed was demolished during the French Revolution, and made accurate drawings of them. He was made a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1819.

He made copies of the medieval paintings discovered in the chamber of the House of Lords, and prepared a paper discussing their date. He visited the Netherlands in September 1820, and early the next year prepared the eleventh part of the Monumental Effigies, finished a large plate of the effigies from Fontevraud and began a work on seals.

In May 1821 he went to Devon to make drawings for Daniel Lysons’ history of the county. He died on the 27 May, falling from a ladder while tracing a portrait from one of the windows in the church at Bere Ferrers. His grave is at Bere Ferrers.

Stothard’s principal publication was The Monumental Effigies of Great Britain; selected from our cathedrals and churches for the purpose of bringing together, and preserving correct representations of the best historical illustrations extant, from the Norman Conquest to the reign of Henry the Eighth, a folio volume containing many etched plates. He began to issue it in parts in 1811, but it remained unfinished at his death. His widow, Anna Eliza, brought it to completion, with the assistance of four different etchers (who produced the remaining plates from Stothard’s original drawings), and her brother, Alfred John Kempe (who provided additional text, based in part on Stothard’s own notes). The complete volume finally appeared in 1832, although it contains two title pages, one dated 1817 and the other 1832, which has sometimes caused bibliographical confusion. The focus of the published work is firmly on effigies, but Phillip Lindley has shown that this was a consequence of Stothard’s premature death, and that his intention was to record more of their monumental and architectural contexts.

A second edition of Monumental Effigies, in two folio volumes and with further additional text by John Hewitt, was published in 1876. A facsimile edition of the first edition, at a slightly reduced size, was issued by Ken Trotman Publishing in 2011.

Anna Eliza also published her Memoirs of Stothard, incorporating many journal entries, letters, and other original documents, in 1823: this did much to mould and enhance his posthumous reputation.

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