John Hamilton Mortimer

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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
John Hamilton Mortimer 1740–1779
Ink on paper. Verso: ink on paper
Support: 251 × 162 mm
Purchased as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund 1996

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This delightful sheet of doodles vividly demonstrates Mortimer's drawing skills and his fertile imagination. He apparently worked with confidence, and at great speed. 'The rapidity of his execution
was astonishing', noted a friend, 'and his powers of drawing superior to anything produced by his contemporaries'.


Mortimer was also something of a daredevil and often got into dangerous scrapes. Not content with drinking
wine, he also on one occasion ate
the wineglass, 'of which act of folly
he never recovered'. Mortimer died
aged thirty-eight.

Gallery label, September 2004

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