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Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

15 of 17 portraits of Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge), after John Francis Moore, 1777 or after - NPG D32139 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Catharine Macaulay (née Sawbridge)

after John Francis Moore
line engraving, 1777 or after
7 1/4 in. x 4 in. (183 mm x 101 mm) paper size
Given by Henry Witte Martin, 1861
Reference Collection
NPG D32139


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In 1777 her doting admirer Reverend Thomas Wilson erected a larger-than-life size statue of Catharine Macaulay as 'History' in his London church, St Stephen Walbrook. This marble sculpture representing a republican woman as a pagan deity and positioned in a place of Christian worship caused a huge scandal. The critic for the Lady's Magazine, where this engraving appeared, accused Wilson of 'prostituting the church' and 'giving rise to idolatry'. Despite the churchwardens' threat of legal action, Wilson refused to remove the statue. Eventually he did comply, but not until the end of the following year when Macaulay unexpectedly eloped with a younger man.

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