4 of 15 portraits of Richard Cosway
- Extended Catalogue Entry
after Richard Cosway
oil on mahogany panel, based on a work of circa 1790
6 1/8 in. x 5 1/4 in. (156 mm x 133 mm) oval
Given by Heber Mardon, 1912
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Sitterback to top
- Richard Cosway (1742-1821), Miniature painter. Sitter in 15 portraits, Artist associated with 97 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Richard Cosway (1742-1821), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 97 portraits, Sitter in 15 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Cosway's career as one of the great painters of the eighteenth century began with portraits of figures from the fashionable world in London, including the Duchess of Devonshire, Mrs Fitzherbert and the Prince of Wales. He was ridiculously vain and pompous but able, at his best, to produce miraculously beautiful miniatures. This self-portrait is a relatively modest image showing him dressed in the fashionable clothes of about 1790 and with the frizzled hair popularised earlier by the Prince of Wales. In other self-portraits Cosway appears in a variety of guises, including a cavalier at a masked ball, a dandified macaroni, a Spanish grandee, as Rubens (with his wife, Maria Cosway), and wearing an Elizabethan ruff and gold chain.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 124
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 145
Events of 1790back to top
Current affairsAttempts to modify the Test and Corporation Acts are defeated, despite campaigning by dissenters such as the prominent Unitarian preacher and pamphleteer, Richard Price. The Acts prevented those outside the established church from holding government or military office.
Art and scienceJoseph Mallord William Turner exhibits his first painting at the Royal Academy; a watercolour of The Archbishop's Palace, Lambeth.
The Firth to Clyde and Oxford to Birmingham canals are begun.
InternationalEdmund Burke publishes Reflections on the Revolution in France. A landmark work of opposition to the Revolution which offered a critique of the radical philosophy behind events in France; the Reflections have been read as an articulation of the foundations of modern British conservatism. George Vancouver explores the north west coast of America.
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