Thomas Stothard

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Thomas Stothard RA (17 August 1755 – 27 April 1834) was an English painter, illustrator and engraver.

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Portrait of Thomas Stothard by John Wood (1833) Wood, John - Thomas Stothard - Google Art Project.jpg
Portrait of Thomas Stothard by John Wood (1833)

Early life

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 James Harrison, the editor of the Novelist's Magazine. Stothard's master having died, he resolved to devote himself to art.

Yorkshire historic county of Northern England

Yorkshire, formally known as the County of York, is a historic county of Northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Due to its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform. Throughout these changes, Yorkshire has continued to be recognised as a geographical territory and cultural region. The name is familiar and well understood across the United Kingdom and is in common use in the media and the military, and also features in the titles of current areas of civil administration such as North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Riding of Yorkshire.

Acomb, North Yorkshire village in United Kingdom

Acomb, is a suburb within the City of York Unitary Authority, to the western side of York, England. It covers the site of the original village of the same name, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is bordered by the suburbs of Holgate, to the east, Clifton, to the north and Woodthorpe to the south. The boundary to the west abuts the fields close to the A1237, York Outer Ring Road.

Tadcaster town in the Selby district of North Yorkshire, England

Tadcaster is a market town and civil parish in the Selby district of North Yorkshire, England, 3 miles (5 km) east of the Great North Road, 12 miles (19 km) north-east of Leeds, and 10 miles (16 km) south-west of York. The River Wharfe joins the River Ouse about 10 miles (16 km) downstream from it.

General Washington, Dallas Museum of Art George Washington by Thomas Stothard.jpg
General Washington, Dallas Museum of Art

Career

In 1778 Stothard 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. [1] 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).

Ossian title character in the work of Ossian

Ossian is the narrator and purported author of a cycle of epic poems published by the Scottish poet James Macpherson from 1760. Macpherson claimed to have collected word-of-mouth material in Scottish Gaelic, said to be from ancient sources, and that the work was his translation of that material. Ossian is based on Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn mac Cumhaill, anglicised to Finn McCool, a legendary bard who is a character in Irish mythology. Contemporary critics were divided in their view of the work's authenticity, but the consensus since is that Macpherson framed the poems himself, based on old folk tales he had collected.

Robert Bell was an Irish man of letters.

<i>The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle</i> book by Tobias Smollett

The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle is a picaresque novel by the Scottish author Tobias Smollett (1721–1771), first published in 1751 and revised and published again in 1758. It tells the story of an egotistical man who experiences luck and misfortunes in the height of 18th-century European society.

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

Thomas Fielding, was an English engraver.

Arcadia Regional unit in Peloponnese, Greece

Arcadia is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the administrative region of Peloponnese. It is situated in the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula. It takes its name from the mythological figure Arcas. In Greek mythology, it was the home of the god Pan. In European Renaissance arts, Arcadia was celebrated as an unspoiled, harmonious wilderness.

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:

An almanac is an annual publication listing a set of events forthcoming in the next year.

<i>Robinson Crusoe</i> novel by Daniel Defoe

The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates, commonly known as Robinson Crusoe, is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. The first edition credited the work's protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a travelogue of true incidents.

The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature, has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. It has also been cited as the first novel written in English.

Oliver Goldsmith Anglo-Irish writer, poet, and physician

Oliver Goldsmith was an Irish novelist, playwright and poet, who is best known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), his pastoral poem The Deserted Village (1770), and his plays The Good-Natur'd Man (1768) and She Stoops to Conquer. He is thought to have written the classic children's tale The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes (1765).

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.

Thomas Stothard, The Pilgrimage to Canterbury (1806-07, Tate Britain) Thomas Stothard Canterbury Pilgrims 318 x 952 mm.jpg
Thomas Stothard, The Pilgrimage to Canterbury (1806–07, Tate Britain)
After Thomas Stothard, The Pilgrimage to Canterbury, engraved by Luigi Schiavonetti & James Heath (1809-17, Tate Britain) After Th Stothard, The Pilgrimage to Canterbury, engr Louis Schiavonetti & James Heath 1809-17 cropped.jpg
After Thomas Stothard, The Pilgrimage to Canterbury, engraved by Luigi Schiavonetti & James Heath (1809–17, Tate Britain)

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 [2] (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. [1]

Personal life

Stothard married Rebecca Watkins in 1783. They had eleven children, of whom six – five sons and one daughter – survived infancy. [3] They lived in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, until 1794, when they moved to a house at 28 Newman Street, Fitzrovia of which Stothard had bought the freehold. [4] His wife died in 1825. [5] His sons included Thomas, accidentally shot dead in about 1801; [6] the antiquarian illustrator Charles Alfred Stothard, who also predeceased his father; [7] and Alfred Joseph Stothard, medallist to George IV. [8]

Stothard died on 27 April 1834, and was buried in Bunhill Fields burial ground. [9]

In literature

Stothard's painting of Erato (one of the Muses) is given a poetical illustration by Letitia Elizabeth Landon in her "Poetical Catalogue of Pictures", in the Literary Gazette (1823). Another of his paintings, The Fairy Queen Sleeping, is poetically examined in a similar fashion in her "Poetical Sketches of Modern Pictures" in The Troubadour (1826).

Notes

  1. 1 2 Chisholm 1911
  2. Coxhead 1906, p.12
  3. Coxhead 1906, p.6
  4. Coxhead 1906, p.8
  5. Coxhead 1906, p.15
  6. Coxhead 1906, p.10
  7. Coxhead 1906, p.14
  8. Coxhead 1906, p.18
  9. Jones, J. A., ed. (1849). Bunhill Memorials: sacred reminiscences of three hundred ministers and other persons of note, who are buried in Bunhill Fields, of every denomination. London: James Paul. p. 358.

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Attribution

Further reading