Thomas Holcroft; William Godwin
11 of 689 portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence
Thomas Holcroft; William Godwin
by Sir Thomas Lawrence
pencil with black and red chalk, 1794
6 1/2 in. x 5 1/4 in. (164 mm x 134 mm)
Bequeathed by Kenneth John Garlick, 2009
Sittersback to top
Artistback to top
- Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 689 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This drawing shows the two writers as spectators at the trial of their fellow political radical, John Thelwall. This took place at the Old Bailey between 1 and 5 December 1794. Thelwall'' was the third of three famous 'Treason Trials' brought by the government against those who had openly sympathised with the French Revolution. According to Godwin's daughter, Mary Shelley, it shows them on the day Holcroft himself had just been acquitted, 'the bending, meditative figure of Godwin contrasting most happily with the upright, stern, and “knock-me-down” attitude and expression of his friend'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Essay by Richard Holmes, Thomas Lawrence Portraits, 2010 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 21 October 2010 - 23 January 2011), p. 8
Events of 1794back to top
Current affairsTreason Trials against John Horne Tooke, Thomas Hardy and John Thelwall take place amidst fears of domestic revolution. Their acquittal marks the most dramatic victory of the cause.
Leader of the Opposition, Charles James Fox's Libel Bill secures the landmark right of trial by jury for the accused.
Thomas Muir and the four other Scottish Martyrs who campaigned for parliamentary reform were transported to Australia for sedition.
Art and scienceEdward Jenner discovers the smallpox inoculation after realising that those who worked with cattle and caught cowpox developed immunity.
Drury Lane Theatre re-opens under the management of the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. In competition with the Covent Garden Theatre it featured a new pit and boxes designed by architect Henry Holland.
InternationalMaximilien Robespierre, member of the French dictatorial Committee of Public Safety is arrested and executed as part of a conspiracy by enemies who disliked his anti-extremist stance and zeal for social reform.
Campaign in the Low Countries under the Duke of York. Allies are defeated and French reoccupy Brussels. British troops retreat to Holland.
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