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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.

Benjamin Robert Haydon
26 January 1786 – 22 June 1846

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Benjamin Robert Haydon

Benjamin Robert Haydon was born in Plymouth, the only son of another Benjamin Robert Haydon, a prosperous printer, stationer and publisher, and his wife Mary, the daughter of the Rev. Benjamin Cobley, rector of Dodbrooke, near Kingsbridge, Devon. At an early age he showed an aptitude for study, which was carefully fostered by his mother. At the age of six he was placed in Plymouth grammar school, and at twelve in Plympton Grammar School, where Sir Joshua Reynolds had received most of his education. On the ceiling of the school-room was a sketch by Reynolds in burnt cork, which Haydon loved to sit and look at. Reading Albinus inspired him with a love for anatomy, and from childhood he wanted to become a painter.

Full of energy and hope, he left home, on 14 May 1804, for London, where he entered the Royal Academy Schools. He was so enthusiastic that Henry Fuseli asked when he found time to eat. In 1807, at the age of 21, Haydon exhibited, for the first time, at the Royal Academy. The painting he entered, The Repose in Egypt, was bought by Thomas Hope a year later for the Egyptian Room at his townhouse in Duchess Street. This was a good start for the Haydon, who shortly afterwards received a commission from Lord Mulgrave and an introduction to Sir George Beaumont. In 1809 he finished his picture of Dentatus, which, though it increased his fame, resulted in a lifelong quarrel with the Royal Academy, whose committee hung it in a small side-room instead of the in great hall. That same year, he took on his first pupil, Charles Lock Eastlake, later a leading figure in the British art establishment.

The financial difficulties which were to dog him for the rest of his life began in 1810 when, in response to Haydon having achieved a certain amount of commercial success, his father stopped paying him his annual allowance of £200. He also became involved in disputes with Beaumont, for whom he had painted a picture of Macbeth, and with Richard Payne Knight, who had outraged Haydon by denying both the aesthetic and the financial value of the sculptures from the Parthenon, recently brought to Britain by Lord Elgin. Haydon was fascinated by the “Elgin Marbles”, and believed that they provided evidence that ancient Greek artists had studied anatomy. The Judgment of Solomon, his next production, was sold for £700, to two Plymouth bankers, and also brought £100 voted to him by the directors of the British Institution, and the freedom of the borough of Plymouth. The income was not enough to pay off all his debts, but it maintained his credit, allowing him to continue borrowing.

At the end of May 1814 he took advantage of the cessation of hostilities with France to visit Paris with his friend David Wilkie, and see the art collections gathered by Napoleon from across Europe at the Louvre. Much of what he saw there disappointed him: he described Raphael’s Transfiguration, a painting he had particularly wanted to see, as “small & insignificant”. At François Gerard’s studio he saw a portrait of Napoleon, and began to develop a fascination with the defeated French leader, although, unlike some of his more radical friends such as William Hazlitt, Haydon never admired him politically.

On returning to England, he produced Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem, which was later to form the nucleus of the American Gallery of Painting, erected by his cousin, John Haviland of Philadelphia. While painting another large work, the Resurrection of Lazarus, his financial problems increased, and he was arrested but not imprisoned, the sheriff-officer taking his word for his appearance. In October, 1821, he increased his commitments when he married Mary Hyman, a widow with two young children, whom he had known for some years. In 1823 Haydon spent two months imprisoned for debt in the King’s Bench Prison, where he received consoling letters from leading men of the day. While there, he drew up a petition to Parliament in favour of the appointment of “a committee to inquire into the state of encouragement of historical painting”, which was presented by Lord Brougham.

During 1825, following an agreement for his financial support with his lawyer, Thomas Kearsey, Haydon turned, rather unwillingly, to portrait painting, and at first he had considerable success. His works in the genre were, however, attacked in a savage review in Theodore Hook’s weekly newspaper John Bull. Haydon later blamed the article for his loss of clientele, and falling back into unmanageable levels of debt. Following a second period of incarceration at the King’s Bench Prison in 1827, he painted the Mock Election inspired by an incident he had witnessed there. The picture was bought by King George IV for £500. Encouraged by this success, he painted a companion picture, Chairing the Member, returning to the prison to make drawings of some of the inmates. A third painting of contemporary life showed the audience at a Punch and Judy show in the New Road at Marylebone. His hopes that the king would buy this work were disappointed, a setback he blamed on the actions of the Keeper of the King’s Pictures, William Seguier.

Among Haydon’s other pictures were: Eucles (1829); Napoleon at St Helena, for Sir Robert Peel; Xenophon, on his Retreat with the ‘Ten Thousand,’ first seeing the Sea; and Waiting for the Times, purchased by the Marquis of Stafford (all 1831); and Falstaff and Achilles playing the Lyre (1832). Curtius Leaping into the Gulf, and Uriel and Satan. (1843) As a supporter of parliamentary reform, he had the idea of painting a grand canvas of a meeting on Newhall Hill, addressed by Thomas Attwood, leader of the Birmingham Political Union. Attempts to raise subscriptions to fund the painting failed, and only sketches were ever made, but Haydon did receive a commission from the new Whig prime minister, Lord Grey, for a picture of the Reform Banquet held at the Guildhall. Completed In 1834, the painting contained 597 individual portraits. He also made a painting of the Meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society, now in the National Portrait Gallery.

Haydon became well known as a lecturer on painting, and from 1835 onwards travelled throughout England and Scotland on lecture tours. He campaigned to have the country’s public buildings decorated with history paintings showing the glories of the nation’s past, and within three days of the destruction of the Palace of Westminster by fire in 1834 he visited the prime minister, Lord Melbourne, in order to impress on him the importance of government patronage of art, especially in relation to the opportunities offered by the rebuilding made necessary by the disaster. Although a scheme along the lines of his suggestions was in fact carried out at the new Houses of Parliament, Haydon played no part in it. When, in 1843, an exhibition was held at Westminster Hall, to choose designs for paintings to decorate the Houses of Parliament. he submitted two cartoons, The Curse of Adam and Edward the Black Prince, but the commission charged with artists to carry out the work (which including his former pupil, Eastlake) found neither suitable.

He then painted The Banishment of Aristides, which was exhibited, along with other works, at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, where he had hired a gallery several times over the years. The American dwarf General Tom Thumb was then appearing at the same venue; over the Easter week 12,000 people paid to see him, while only 133 visited Haydon’s exhibition.

The artist’s difficulties increased to such an extent that, whilst employed on his last grand effort, Alfred and the Trial by Jury, overcome by debts of over £3,000, disappointment, and ingratitude, he wrote “Stretch me no longer on this rough world,” and attempted suicide by shooting himself. The bullet failed to kill him, and he finished the task by cutting his throat. He left a widow and three surviving children, who were generously supported by Haydon’s friends, including Sir Robert Peel, the Count d’Orsay, Thomas Talfourd, and Lord Carlisle. A resident of Paddington, he was buried just to the north-west of the grave of Sarah Siddons at St Mary’s Church, Paddington, London. The cemetery was converted to a park, St Mary’s Gardens, in 1885. Haydon’s is one of the few preserved stones. It is modest and eroded but his name is still (2014) just legible.

In 1839 Haydon began work on an autobiography, drawing on materials from his extensive diaries. Before his death he had completed the story of his life up to the year 1820. It was published in three volumes in 1853, edited by Tom Taylor, with additional material from the diaries, under the title Life of Benjamin Robert Haydon, Historical Painter, from his Autobiography and Journals.

The autobiography was assessed by the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition this way:

Haydon’s autobiography is one of the most natural books ever written, full of various and abundant power, and fascinating to the reader. His love for his art was both a passion and a principle. He found patrons difficult to manage; and did not have the tact to lead them gently. He failed, abused patrons and patronage, and intermingled talk of the noblest independence with acts not always dignified. He was self-willed to perversity, but his perseverance was such as is seldom associated with so much vehemence and passion. He had confidence in his own powers and in the ultimate triumph of art. He proclaimed himself the apostle and martyr of high art, and believed himself to have a claim on the sympathy and support of the nation.

Readers of his autobiography were struck by the frequency and fervour of the short prayers interspersed throughout the work. Haydon had an overwhelming sense of a personal, overruling and merciful providence, which influenced his relations with his family, and to some extent with the world. He had many enemies, actuated by motives as unworthy as his own were always high-pitched and on abstract grounds laudable.

Haydon’s Lectures, published shortly after their delivery, showed that he was as bold a writer as painter. He also wrote the long and elaborate article on “Painting,” in the 7th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Charles Dickens wrote in 1846 that “All his life [Haydon] had utterly mistaken his vocation. No amount of sympathy with him and sorrow for him in his manly pursuit of a wrong idea for so many years — until, by dint of his perseverance and courage it almost began to seem a right one — ought to prevent one from saying that he most unquestionably was a very bad painter, and that his pictures could not be expected to sell or to succeed.”

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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.

William Carr Beresford 1st Viscount Beresford
2 October 1768 – 8 January 1856

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William Carr Beresford

William Carr Beresford 1st Viscount Beresford was the illegitimate son of The 1st Marquess of Waterford. He was the brother of Admiral Sir John Beresford, 1st Baronet (who was also illegitimate), and the half-brother of The 2nd Marquess of Waterford, Archbishop Lord John Beresford and General Lord George Beresford.

Beresford entered the British Army in 1785 as an ensign in the 6th Regiment of Foot and the next year he was blinded in one eye due to an incident with a musket. He remained in the service being promoted to captain by 1791 with the 69th Regiment of Foot. He distinguished himself at Toulon (1793), in Egypt (1799–1803) and in South Africa (1805). From there he fared across the South Atlantic to South America to invade the River Plate region (now Argentina), with a small British force of 1,500 men, departing on 14 April 1806. Following his move to Cape Town in Cape Colony, Beresford, spurred on by Home Popham, R.N. (later Rear Admiral Sir Home Popham), decided to attack Buenos Aires in Spanish South America. No attempt was made to gain authorization from the Crown for this undertaking. In the invasion of the River Plate, Buenos Aires was occupied for 46 days. However, the British force could not maintain itself against the army gathered by Santiago de Liniers. After a relentless two-day fight with the Buenos Aires and Montevideo militias between 10 and 12 August 1806, the British were defeated and forced to capitulate. Beresford had to surrender, remaining prisoner for six months; in the end, he managed to escape and arrived in England in 1807.

In that same year Beresford was sent to Madeira, which he occupied in name of the King of Portugal, remaining there for six months as Governor and Commander in Chief. The exiled Portuguese Government in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, whereto the Portuguese Royal Family had transferred the Court, realised the necessity of appointing a commander-in-chief capable of training, equipping and disciplining the demoralised Portuguese Army. The Portuguese government asked Britain to appoint Arthur Wellesley to this role, Wellesley indicated he could not do the role justice due to his prior engagements and recommended Beresford. He was appointed Marshal and Commander in Chief of the Army by Decree of 7 March 1809 and took the command on 15th of the same month. At that time, Marshal Soult had already crossed into Portugal where he occupied Porto. Beresford quickly overhauled the Portuguese forces, bringing them in line with British discipline and organization, and from the General Headquarters (then at the Largo do Calhariz), he dispatched many “daily orders” altering points of the Infantry ordnance, creating a general command of Artillery, establishing the separation of the battalions, firing incompetent or corrupt officers and promoting or appointing appropriate replacements.

On 22 April 1809 Sir Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, disembarked in Lisbon, and took over the command of all the Anglo-Portuguese troops and he was nominated Marshal General of the Portuguese Army. The allied armies marched to the North. Wellington moved from Coimbra directly to Porto, which he entered on 12 May, and Beresford marched through the Province of Beira, arriving that same day at the banks of the Douro river, in the area of Lamego. Wellington’s troops made a forced crossing of the Douro and defeated the French, Soult was obliged to withdraw from Porto. Soult was outnumbered and was expelled from Portugal; the positioning of Beresford’s forces compelled the French to leave Portugal by the poor roads through Montalegre, they managed to cross the border only after sacrificing their artillery and baggage, and facing numerous difficulties.

The Second French Invasion of Portugal was defeated and the allied armies moved back to the South, the British concentrating at Abrantes and the Portuguese at Castelo Branco. with the intent of cooperating with the Spanish against Marshal Victor, the Anglo-Portuguese forces under Wellesley moved into Spain in the Talavera campaign while Beresford remained on the Águeda River covering the Spanish-Portuguese border. After Wellesley’s return, now as Viscount Wellington, following the Battle of Talavera Beresford re-entered Portugal, where he distributed the army at various locations established his General Headquarters in Lisbon. From Lisbon he dispatched numerous orders and instructions for the reform of the Portuguese military.

In the same year (1809), and the following year he made tours of inspection of the corps that were found quartered in the various provinces and he corrected any defects he noticed and established rules for the functioning of the different branches of the military service. In this way he improved the functioning of the Portuguese Army so that they might face the forces of Napoleon that were invading the country for the third time. The good results of his efforts were proven at the campaign against Masséna in particular at the Battle of Buçaco, 27 September 1810 where the Portuguese troops played a prominent part, and also in the defence of the Lines of Torres Vedras).

The most notable action in which Beresford held independent command occurred in 1811 when a combined Anglo-Portuguese and Spanish army under his command, intercepted a French army commanded by Marshal Soult who had been ordered by Marshal Auguste Marmont to move to protect the important Spanish fortress-city of Badajoz. As the French forces retreated from the Lines of Torres Vedras, Beresford marched towards Badajoz, which he laid siege to. Having, however, received notice that Soult was approaching, he lifted the siege and posted his army at Albuera in a defensive position. There he defeated the French forces on 16 May 1811. After the very bloody Battle of Albuera the French were forced to retreat, though the siege of Badajoz had to be subsequently abandoned. Meanwhile, on 13 May 1811, he was created Count of Trancoso in Portugal by decree of Prince Regent John.

At the beginning of July 1811 he was again in Lisbon, but he was subjected to fits of “nervous breakdowns”, as described by brigadier D’Urban, quarter master general of the Portuguese Army. He recuperated in February 1812 and he then joined Wellington in his investment of Ciudad Rodrigo. He accompanied, after this fortified town had fallen, the army to Alentejo, and participated in the Anglo-Portuguese Siege of Badajoz. After Badajoz had been stormed the two Generals, Wellington and Beresford, again took up position on the Águeda, and from there launched the Salamanca campaign. On 22 July 1812, the important Battle of Salamanca was fought, giving the Anglo-Portuguese forces a decisive victory over the French under Marshal Marmont. In the battle Beresford was badly wounded, under his left breast, when he was ordering the advance of one of the Portuguese brigades.

He retired to Lisbon and had bouts of fever and was half incapacitated for several months until May of the next year (1813). Meanwhile he was also created Marquis of Campo Maior in Portugal by Prince Regent John on 17 December 1812. In March he was confirmed as second in command of the Allied Army and rejoined the campaigning army, and assisted in the liberation of Spain by the British and Portuguese armies.

In the invasion of France, he assisted Wellington at the command of a corps and he was hailed as the liberator of Bordeaux. He fought in France at Toulouse the last clash of the Peninsular War.

After peace was declared he went to England on leave and came back again to Lisbon to reassume the command of the Portuguese Army. He did not limit himself, however, to that role, and intended to intervene in the general politics of the country, from this he came into conflict with the Regency. He then determined to go to the Court in Rio de Janeiro. He departed to there in August 1815 and returned in September 1816, invested with wider powers than the ones which he had previously enjoyed. Beresford took a high hand in his dealings with Gomes Freire de Andrade (1817) and, put into a difficult situation, he returned to Brazil, obtaining from John VI the confirmation of the powers he had already attained, which he desired to see amplified.

When he returned to Portugal, the Liberal Revolution of 1820 intervened; the British officers, for the most part, had been discharged, and the government would not even consent that Beresford could disembark. He was made Governor of Jersey in 1821 and held the position till 1854. Briefly returning to Portugal in 1827 at request of the Regent, Infanta Isabel Maria of Braganza, he gave up his ambitions due to the resistance he found among the new Portuguese elite and returned to Britain.

In the 1840s, Beresford expanded the Bedgebury Estate near Goudhurst, Kent. He built the hamlet of Kilndown to the north west of Bedgebury.

Napier, in his History of the Peninsular War, severely criticized the tactics of Beresford at the Battle of Albuera, which gave origin to a heated correspondence between the Marshal and the historian. The published letters of Beresford which are mentioned below refer to this controversy. Wellington himself had no illusions over Beresford’s ability as a General, but he appreciated his abilities as a military organizer that he recommended, in case of his death, that Beresford succeeded him in command. He published: Strictures on Certain Passages of L. Col. Napier’s History of Peninsular War; Further Strictures; Refutation of Col. Napier’s Justification, London, 1831–1834, 3 Vol.; Letter to Charles Edward Long, Esq. on the Extracts Recently Published from the Ms. Journal and Private Correspondence of the Late Lieut-Gen. R. B. Long, London, John Murray, 1833; A Second Letter to Charles Edward Long, Esq. on the Ms. Journal and Private Correspondence of the Late Lieut. General R. B. Long (1834). Also of interest is the Colecção das Ordens do Dia (Collection of Orders of the Day) produced by Beresford’s general headquarters nos Anos de 1809 a 1823 (for the years 1809 to 1823), Lisbon, 13 Vol. (at the Library of the English Institute of the University of Coimbra).

As a reward for his services in the fight against the French he was raised to the peerage as Baron Beresford, of Albuera and Dungarvan in the County of Waterford, in 1814. In 1823 he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Beresford, of Beresford in the County of Stafford, in 1823. He was the last titular Governor of Jersey; since his death the Crown has been represented in Jersey by the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey. Beside many national and foreign decorations he had the Grand Cross of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword. Some authors infer that he also had the title of 1st Duke of Elvas; but no document recording the granting this title is extant. Beresford County, New South Wales, Australia was named in his honour.

Beresford was Member of Parliament (MP) for County Waterford from 1811 to 1814.

He was sworn of the Privy Council in 1821.

Lord Beresford married his first cousin the Honourable Louisa, widow of Thomas Hope and daughter of William Beresford, 1st Baron Decies and Elizabeth Fitzgibbon, in 1832. The marriage was childless. She died in July 1851. Lord Beresford died in January 1854, aged 85. The barony and viscountcy became extinct on his death. His estates were passed on to his stepson, Alexander Beresford Hope. Beresford’s Portuguese titles were not renewed, although his nephews continued using them.

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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 Hope
August 30 1769 – February 3 1831

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Thomas Hope

The eldest son of Jan Hope, a family of merchant bankers known as the Hopes of Amsterdam. He inherited from his mother a love of the arts, which was possible because of the fortunes of his father and grandfather. Thomas fled to London with his brothers to avoid the French and never returned.

In 1784, when Thomas was fifteen, his father died unexpectedly. Thomas did not enter the family business. Instead, at the age of eighteen, he began to devote his time to the study of all the arts and conducted a series of tours to other countries. During his grand tour through Europe, Asia and Africa, Hope interested himself especially in architecture and sculpture.

Thomas returned to the Hague in 1794. That same year, the Hope’s fled to London before the oncoming French revolutionary forces marching on Amsterdam. In their haste to remove their art collections to the safety of London, the Hopes left their houses, summer homes and parks full of valuable furnishings.

Thomas Hope took to London. He decorated his house in a very elaborate style. Drawings made by Thomas had each room taking on a different style influenced by the countries he had visited. His background led him to further research the various art he had studied during his travels and he began to write books on decoration and furniture, the first of its kind. The house was opened as a semi-public museum. The house museum included three vase galleries filled with South Italian vases the Hopes purchased from Sir William Hamilton‘s second vase collection.

The family acquired the Hope Diamond and the Hope Pearl. The banking business worked on the Louisiana Purchase. Thomas Hope took up his grand tour where he left off, and began extensive tours of the Ottoman Empire which included visits to Turkey, Rhodes, Egypt, Syria, and Arabia. He stayed about a year in Istanbul/Constantinople and produced some 350 drawings depicting the people and places he witnessed in the Ottoman Empire, a collection now to be found in the Benaki Museum, Athens.

He married Louisa de la Poer Beresford in 1806, and acquired a country seat at Deepdene, near Dorking in Surrey. Deepdene became a famous resort of men of letters as well as of people of fashion. Among the luxuries suggested by his fine taste, and provided to his guests, was a miniature library in several languages in each bedroom. He gave frequent employment to artists, sculptors and craftsmen. He was a patron of Bertel Thorvaldsen, Francis Legatt Chantrey and John Flaxman.

Hope advanced public awareness of historical painting and design and influenced design in the houses of Regency London. In 1807 Thomas Hope published sketches of his furniture, Household Furniture and Interior Decoration, which influenced and brought about a change in the upholstery and interior decoration of houses. Hope’s furniture designs were in the pseudo-classical manner called “English Empire”. Sometimes extravagant, but restrained. At best, it was not an inspiring mixture of Egyptian and Roman motifs.

Costumes of the Ancients (1809), and Designs of Modern Costumes (1812), display large amounts of antiquarian research. A Historical Essay on Architecture, in 1835. helped make Hope famous in London’s aristocratic circles as ‘the costume and furniture man’.

Hope now wrote Anastasius, which became an overnight sensation. A second edition sold out in twenty-four hours. Foreign translations in French, German and Flemish quickly followed.

Hope’s descriptions revealed the lives of the inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire and of the wars fought among the Turks, Russians and Wahabees. It described unknown details of Islamic culture: music, language, cuisine, religion, laws and literature.

Hope was at first anonymous as the author. At first mistakenly attributed to Lord Byron, who, according to legend, confided to Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, that he wept bitterly on reading it. “To have been the author of Anastasius, I would have given the two poems which brought me the most glory.” This prompted Hope to reveal his identity as author in later editions.

After Hope’s death in 1831, his widow Louisa remarried her cousin William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford. Now conservative, they authorised the demolition of the writer’s legendary London home, dispersed his fabled art collection, and distanced themselves from his Oriental masterpiece. No substantial collection of Hope’s personal papers survived the family purge and Anastasius, his magnum opus, became a victim of the morality of the Victorian age.

Nevertheless, it influenced the works of William Thackeray, Mark Twain and Herman Melville.

In addition to his other accomplishments, Hope was the author of an important philosophical work published posthumously, The Origin and Prospect of Man (1831). He speculates widely from the social and religious views of the Victorian age. Hope was a man who opened up the Orient to the English but in doing so, his legacy, poorly administered by his heirs is near erased.

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