Joseph Highmore

Two Full-length Studies of a Man in Robes

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Highmore 1692–1780
Ink and graphite on paper
Support: 189 × 155 mm
Presented by Mrs Joan Highmore Blackhall and Dr R.B. McConnell 1986

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.

T04186 Two Full-length Studies of a Man in Robes c.1725

Pen and pencil on paper 187 × 152 (7 3/8 × 6)

Inscribed ‘Sketch for Portrait of D of Richmond as a Knight of the Bath by J H.’ along bottom

Lit: Beard 1934, vol.94, pp.13–14, fig.IX (detail); Lewis 1975, II, pp.486–7, 625, no.38

Beard considered this to be a sketch for a portrait of Charles Lennox, 2nd Duke of Richmond (1694–1750), then still at Goodwood. All trace of the painting has since disappeared. It was probably the painting singled out as an early success in Highmore's obituary, quoted by Lewis, as ‘the Duke of Richmond, attended by his three Esquires, with a perspective view of King Henry the VII's Chapel’. This commission arose out of the revival of the Order of the Bath in 1725 with great ceremonial festivities, some of which Highmore had drawn for engraving. Certainly the robe and the tall plumed hat held by the figure are consistent with the robes of a Knight of the Order of the Bath, to which honour the Duke had been elevated in 1725 by proxy. The portrait must have been completed soon after the ceremony, as in January 1729 the Duke gave instructions to pay Highmore a fee of ‘100 pieces’, this being ‘a debt which I contracted a long time ago’.

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

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