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Hayman was a history painter and also had a flourishing portrait practice. He worked in the fashionable rococo style. He also produced nearly two hundred designs for engraved book illustrations. This drawing is one of four illustrations made by Hayman for frontispieces for a new 1759 edition of 'The Tatler', a periodical which appeared between 1709 and 1711. Hayman shows an author sitting at his table while his companion looks up from her paper. In its air of exasperation and boredom this drawing appears to gently upset the conventions of the contemporary conversation piece. It was engraved in reverse by Charles Grignion (1717-1819) for volume 1 of 'The Tatler'.

September 2004