Joseph Highmore Sketch of a Group of Five Gentlemen around a Table date not known

Artwork details

Artist
Joseph Highmore 1692–1780
Title
Sketch of a Group of Five Gentlemen around a Table
Date Date not known
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 207 x 293 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Presented by Mrs Joan Highmore Blackhall and Dr R.B. McConnell 1986
Reference
T04178
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Catalogue entry

[from] Works on Paper and Vellum [T04173-T04237 and T04318-T04319]

Various media and sizes
Presented by Mrs Joan Highmore Blackhall and Dr Rosemary B. McConnell 1986
Prov: By descent from the artist to the donors
Lit: C.R. Beard, ‘Highmore's Scrap-Book’, Connoisseur, vol.93, 1934, pp.290–7, ‘Highmore's Drawings for Pine's Processions and Ceremonies’, Connoisseur, vol.94, 1934, pp.9–15; Alison S. Lewis, Joseph Highmore 1692–1780, PhD thesis, Harvard 1975 (University Microfilms International, Ann Arbor 1980), I, pp.230–1, II, pp.650–6, 659, III, figs.263–77, 279; E. Einberg and J. Egerton, The Age of Hogarth: British Painters Born 1675–1709, Tate Gallery Collections, 11, 1988, pp.64–71, all but last six repr.; Warren Mild, Joseph Highmore of Holborn Row, Ardmore 1990

All sheets have been irregularly cut; maximum dimensions only are given. All inscriptions, unless otherwise stated, are in pen and ink, and are thought to have been written by the artist's grandson Anthony Highmore (1758–1829).

The Highmore Gift, of which this is a part, is a collection of sketches, drawings, watercolours, engravings and some family papers which descended from the artist through the late Sir Anthony Highmore King, CBE, to the donors. The papers concern mostly nineteenth-century members of the family, but include Joseph Highmore's Paris Journal of 1734, published by Elizabeth Johnston, Walpole Society, vol.42, 1970, pp.61–104. The following items have been removed for conservation reasons from a scrap-book into which they had been pasted, in no particular order, by Sir Anthony Highmore King's grandmother Anna King, together with works by Susanna Duncombe (née Highmore) and later members of the family, as well as photographs, tracings and other fragments now in the Tate Gallery Archive. Nineteen drawings by Joseph Highmore for John Pine's twenty-plate set of engravings depicting the revival of the Order of the Bath, published in 1730, were sold from the King collection to Lord Fairhaven sometime after 1934 and are on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.


T04178 Sketch of a Group of Five Gentlemen around a Table c.1735–45

Pencil and pen on paper 206 × 289 (8 1/8 × 11 1/8)

Inscribed ‘J H’ in pencil b.r.
Lit: Beard 1934, vol.94, p.14, fig.X; Lewis 1975, I, pp.230–1, II, p.654, no.44

The sketch depicts five gentlemen, probably the members of a Commission, around a table covered with documents and plans, including those of a fortress. Other details include the stern of a ship in the background and a terrestrial globe on the floor on the right. Lewis argues that the group could represent Governors of the Foundling Hospital, with the standing man holding up plans for the Hospital's new buildings. The spiky, star-shaped markings on his sheet, however, cannot possibly represent a building and are more consistent with a military map or plan of a fortification.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

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