Left: from A Lecture on Heads, by George A.Stevens, 1799
"It should be observed in commendation of the taste which our countrymen in general have showed, that they have preferred the greatness of design and composition in which the Italian masters are so well known to excell, before the gaudy Flemish colouring, or 'the drudging mimickry of nature's most uncomely coarsenesses (b)', upon which the Dutch so much value themselves."
(b) Ædes Walpolianæ, Introduction.
From The English Connoisseur, by Thomas Martyn, 1767. Martyn's introduction as "editor of this trifle", which consists of twenty-three catalogues of the collections of English connoisseurs, as well as a number of institutions, presents a summary of an English taste which has been religiously followed for the last 250 years. The contents of his trifle will have to be analysed, in detail, when I get round to it.
"The moral of the whole is clear: connoisseurship is the mortal enemy of the native practitioner"
Joseph Burke, editor of The Analysis of Beauty, 1955, Introduction, p. xv.
|Monamy: Pictor Anglus|
It has already been mentioned on this site that Monamy's paintings will always remain belittled and misunderstood by those who cannot recognize that his life and labours, in the spirit of his time and place, represent unswerving commitment to the cause of England's glory.
Spoof ad, left, from the celebratory broadsheet issue of The Craftsman, 21st April, 1733. Was the name of Hogarth here taken entirely in vain? Hogarth's "foreign interloper", van Loo, painted portraits of both Horatio and Robert Walpole; and also John Hervey, Walpole's assiduous pamphleteer.
by van Loo
Van Loo's name was anathema to Hogarth, who saw in him the distress and ruin of many a native English portrait painter.
But the Frenchman didn't arrive in England until 1737, and left, when Walpole fell, in 1743; so the mention of Hogarth in 1733, as engraver of an effigy of the Premier Exciseman, suggests that the "chauvinist" was already in the Opposition camp, if covertly.
by van Loo
Hogarth painted a likeness of Horace Walpole, at age 10, ie in 1727. This, together with his commission to engrave the Walpole Salver, also in 1727, must have been his last experience of patronage by the Walpole dynasty.
His depiction of Sir Robert as Macheath, in 1729, would have made his position clear to the Premier Minister. Small wonder that Hamilton included Hogarth out of the Conversation of Virtuosi.
John Gay, who was made rich by The Beggar's Opera, had its sequel Polly, suppressed by that same Minister's agents in 1729.
Robert Walpole's counter-measures against those who opposed him included spying, censorship, bribery, corruption, and manipulation by selective patronage. Standard tactics for most of those in power.
Reproduced in The Discovery of Painting, by Iain Pears
© Charles Harrison Wallace 2007
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