A Portrait of the Author as an Author (2002) N

Manuel Portela



1. painting portraits

2. marks of the author

3. marks of the market

List of Illustrations




1. painting portraits


First lay white, then all the rest round his palette. He took white a pretty deal and tempered yellow ochre with it; he held the knife up to the light (and if) it seemed a great too deal yellow for the life, then he took red ochre and mixed with it, then he took lake and mixed with it also, then he laid that down for the first general. He took from this general patch to make the other tempers, and not from the new white. […]

He proceeded thus. He made his first patch for the light of the forehead, nose and maxillary. He was not intent, but talked very much so that he could not be but more than an hour and a half about the face, though if they did sit two hours and a half it looked cold and hard. He charged his pencil very much in linseed oil, without wiping it, and took some of the linseed oil onto his palette, and took a little of it now and then and laid it of itself on the hard edgings of the colours, and it melted finely and softened it, and where the colour was still and not easy to work, he would mix a little oil with it, and make it work free.

Then he put in some yellowish shadows, a very little of that shadow made a cold face look warm.

The third sitting was the same as the second sitting, only [he] made his picture warmer, and mended his draft still, so at last he wrought it very like.

He had two looking glasses behind him, so that they could see the life and the picture.

Ozias Humphrey, description of Godfrey Kneller’s technique, c. 1690


This is a description of Godfrey Kneller’s (1646-1723) portrait technique written circa 1690, and it registers the second and third sittings, when the painter is trying to establish the outline and basic colours of the face. According to the same witness, he needed ten to twelve sittings to finish a portrait. For successful painters, however, the large number of commissions often meant that they were not responsible for the entire picture, making paintings the collective production of the portraitist’s studio. Another account, written by an anonymous correspondent to a London paper after Kneller’s death, stresses how in his later years he came to establish the production of pictures upon the principles of manufacture:   

In his hands, painting became a trade, and was conducted upon precisely the same principles. To execute as many pictures as he could get orders for in the shortest space of time was his only object, and to facilitate their progress he appointed each assistant to his peculiar province. When he had finished the face, and sketched the outline of the shoulders etc., the picture was given to the artist who excelled in painting a hat, and when the hat was fixed upon the head, or tucked under the arm, the canvas was consigned to the painter of the periwig, who having given eternal buckle [waves] to the flowing white curls which hang in ample ringlets on each shoulder, turned it over to another, who gave the glossy blue velvet coat, that a further industrious artisan had ornamented with curious worked buttons, each of them wrought up with all the laborious accuracy of the German school. One excelled in the delineation of the lace handkerchief and point ruffles, while the broad gold lace which decorated the scarlet waistcoat was the forte of another.

This caricaturised account highlights both the conventional nature of portraiture and the increasing demand for oil portraits. Face-painters and drapery-painters collaborated in establishing the technique and the symbolic iconography of the genre.

By the beginning of the eighteenth century portrait painting was the most popular genre in England. It had become a commonplace of foreign and national criticism that “Face-Painting is no where so well performed as in England”, as The Spectator put it (6 Dec. 1712). Bainbrigge Buckridge (1668-1733), defending English painters against the French school in his Essay towards an English School of Painting (1706), also claims that they “have not only infinitely out-done them in Portraits, but have produced more masters in that kind than all the rest of Europe” (Buckridge: dedication to Robert Child, Esq.). On the other hand, innovators like William Hogarth complained that the English patron favoured portraiture at the expense of every other form of painting. The demand for Hogarth’s individual and conversation portraits contrasts with the difficulty he faced when trying to sell the paintings of his modern moral subjects.

Portrait was thus one of the key genres in the transition of painting from the patronage system to the marketplace. Bourgeois and aristocrat, both male and female, were now commissioning and sitting for individual and group portraits in various social and familiar settings. For painters, portraits provided a regular income and enabled them to perfect the conventions of the genre and to develop its iconography. In fact, the anxiety about the social identity of the commercial painter is similar to the anxiety about the social identity of the commercial writer. Jonathan Richardson (1665-1745), in his Theory of Painting, published in 1715, is aware of the shift in the identity of artists caused by the increasingly economic nature of their activity:


What a Rank a Painter (as such) is to hold amongst these Money-Takers I submit to Judgment, after what I have said has been consider’d;  and I hope it will appear that they may be placed amongst those whom all the World allow to be Gentlemen, or of Honourable Employments, or Professions. (31)


Painting had become a new form capital whose exchange value seemed to increase so rapidly and so out of proportion to the materials and time used in the production that “’Tis next to creation” and “as current Money as Gold” (15):


Now there is no Artificer whatsoever that produces so Valuable a thing from such Inconsiderable Materials of Nature’s furnishing, as the Painter; putting the Time (for that also must be consider’d as one of those Materials) into Account: ’Tis next to Creation. (15-16)


This transformation of painting into capital eventually made Jonathan Rich one of the richest portrait painters of his generation[1]. His professional career and his art theory, as Carol Gibson-Wood has recently shown, embody the intersection between bourgeois commercial painter and Enlightenment ideals when art consumption was changing the relationship between painter and client.

The commercialisation of writing was also changing the social origin and status of literary authors, but these changes are not directly apparent in authors’ portraits. They are mediated by the general conventions of portrait painting, particularly as regards the treatment of dress and individual character. The portrait of polite circles in conversation pieces is one instance of the development of a pictorial code to represent the sociability of the new commercial society. According to David H. Solkin, in oil paintings affluence and the use of riches were gradually deprived of their negative implications and became an instrument that refined the passions in a code of manners (Solkin 84-96). In the conversation piece we can trace the production of the modern subject of consumer society. The presentation of individuals in portraits is very often mediated by a similar construction of the polite self.

Jonathan Richardson was certainly conscious of this tension between pictorial truthfulness to character and the necessity of staging civil representations of the self:


In Portraits the intention of the Painter is exercised in the Choice of the Air, and Attitude, the Action, Drapery, and Ornaments, with respect to the Character of the Person. (78)

In Portraits it must be seen whether the Person is Grave, Gay; a Man of Business, or Wit, Plain, Gentile, etc. Each Character must have an Attitude, and Dress; the Ornaments and Back-Ground proper to it: Every part of the Portrait, and all about it must be Expressive of the Man, and have a Resemblance as well as the Features of the Face. (100-101)

The Airs of the Heads must especially be regarded. This is commonly the first thing taken notice of when one comes into Company, or into any Public Assembly, or at the first Sight of any particular Person; and this first strikes the Eye, and affects the Mind when we see a Picture, a Drawing, etc.

The same regard must be had to every Action, and Motion. The Figures must not only do what is Proper, and in the most Commodious Manner, but as People of the best Sense, and Breeding, (their Character being consider’d) would, or should perform such Actions. The Painter’s People must be good Actors; they must have learn’d to use a Humane Body well; they must Sit, Walk, Lye, Salute, do every thing with Grace. (190)

Thus to raise the Character: To divest an Unbred Person of his Rusticity, and give him something at least of a Gentleman; to make one of a moderate Share of good Sense appear to have a Competency, a Wise Man to be more Wise, and a Brave Man to be more so, a Modest, Discreet Woman to have an Air something Angelical, and so of the rest; and then to add that Joy, or Peace of Mind at least, and in such a manner as is suitable to the several Characters, is absolutely necessary to a good Face-Painter […]. (185-186)


The artist’s job was not only to “express the Man”, or the Woman, and capture the “resemblance”, but also “to raise the Character”. The head should be especially regarded because it is noticed as “the first thing when one comes into Company, or into any Publick Assembly, or at the first Sight of any particular person”. Individual portraits were set within the eighteenth-century code of polite conversation. Painters were portraying a self who was conscious of the presence of others and whose character showed in outward appearance, dress and manners not only his or her social status but also the idealised subjectivity of the gentleman or the lady. Oil portraits extended the polite code of manners to the consumption of images and enabled viewer, sitter, and painter to exchange looks and gestures in their restricted space of social interactions.

Dress was another essential element of the language of portraits. According to Jonathan Richardson the choice between representing sitters in common dress or using an arbitrary loose dress, for instance, was subordinated to the pictorial effect of grace and greatness:


The Draperies must have broad Masses of Light, and Shadow, and noble large Folds to give a Greatness; and These artfully subdivided give grace. […] Not only the large Folds, and Masses must be observ’d, but the Shapes of ’em, or they may be Great, but nor Beautiful.

The Linen must be Clean and Fine; the Silks and Stuffs new, and the Best of the Kind.

Lace, Embroidery, Gold and Jewels must be sparingly employ’d. (193)


Richardson was consciously dressing his characters in the pictorial vocabulary of Raphael and other Renaissance painters, rather than in the symbolic apparel of the landed gentry, the successful merchant or the eighteenth-century professional. Pictorial likeness was thus framed within the relationship between the techniques, forms and conventions of the genre and the discourses that structured the symbolic elements of character.



2. marks of the author


The iconography of authorship reflected many of the general portrait conventions and it seems to have been subordinated to the code of the polite character. The portrait of the author became a regular feature of many books. Collections often included frontispieces engraved after painted portraits, sometimes as companions to a narrative of the life of the poet (FIGURES 1-16). When these painted and engraved images are linked to other literary images of authors, we can see that portraits were used to reinforce the image of the author as gentleman or lady. Like many portraits of bourgeois individuals, the source of the wealth and the commercial nature of the civic independence of the portrayed author were generally absent from the portrait. Emulation of the aristocracy was thus a driving force both in the act of commissioning portraits and in the pictorial code for representing individual personality. This definition of the public persona of the author performed a rhetorical function, by showing authors free from the actual dealings of the literary market. In a similar way, idealised representations of the self in social conversation, within familiar and domestic settings, club meetings, coffee-house circles, and other mixed assemblies, sublimated the economic and sexual passions that drove social and private life.

This rhetorical function of the portrait of the author is particularly clear in those regressive representations where classical symbols are used in imaging authors. Two obvious examples are Pope’s portrait by Jonathan Richardson (1737) and The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain: Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo, by Richard Samuel (1779) (FIGURES 6 and 17). At a time when Pope had mastered both the possibilities offered by the market for translations in subscribed editions and the management of his own editions to increase his profits, he was also picturing himself as a classical, inspired, and unacknowledged poet laureate. This image was meant to be the opposite of the Grub-street author that he and others were shaping in their works during the 1720s and 1730s. It was also an indirect response to many verbal and pictorial caricatures made of him.

In the second half of the eighteenth century professional men and women authors were gaining a new kind of independence. Female authorship was more legitimate by the mid-eighteenth century, as we can see in a poem entitled The Feminiad (1754), by John Duncombe (1729-1786). The Feminiad celebrates women’s entry into the world of arts and letters. It also contributed to the feminisation of women’s writing by distinguishing appropriate from inappropriate female writing. Many of the literary allusions used in this poem anticipate Samuel’s pictorial allusions. The women included in Richard Samuel’s painting were among the first professional women artists who had achieved social recognition and significant financial rewards from their work. He includes writers in different genres, a painter, a singer, an actress, and a patron. Although the picture of women as servants of Apollo makes direct references to the particular activity of each woman, the idealised dress, behaviour, and setting remain entirely silent about the actual conditions of their work. Richard Samuel is drawing upon the nationalist discourse of Great Britain as a modern Republic of the Arts, and figuring women authors as muses of the state. The fact that authors are here represented as muses also tells us about the particular intersection between eighteenth-century femininity and female authorship. To fit the classical idiom and deflect any other associations, feminisation of women writers required them to be turned into muses.



3. marks of the market


Despite the frequent use of classical icons, the gentleman or lady as author and the author as gentleman or lady summarise most of the eighteenth-century portraits. Ink-bottle, pen, and manuscript papers (or even a bound volume) are sometimes represented, but we do not see printed newspapers or any specific allusions to the print shop and the literary market. Aristocratic or traditional professional status remains the main single source of the sitter’s social identity, as we can see in the case of members of the clergy, such as Edward Young and Laurence Sterne (FIGURES 8 and 12). Only rarely do we have a glimpse of the bourgeois professional author beneath the gentleman author, as it happened with Joshua Reynold’s portrait of Samuel Johnson (FIGURE 10). Because of its derogatory associations, the commercial author is almost entirely absent from oil portraiture. It is usually in graphic caricature and satire that we see the iconography of the trade associated with the author, as we can see in the print taken from the Grub-street Journal (1732).  

In this caricature of newspaper production, an atmosphere of raving madness seems to be the power source behind newspaper production (FIGURE 18). Journalists, publishers, and printers collaborate in the production of the many sheets of paper hanging in the room. Authors are placed in the printer’s shop and they are indistinguishable from other members of the trade. The accelerated cycle of production seems to have released the wildest of human instincts. Economic and sexual passions result in the bestial and monstrous appearance of the characters. This is the heart of Grub-street where writing has become an economic activity, and where authors, publishers, and printers collaborate and struggle in the production of new commodities, new forms of property, and new forms of capital.  The proliferation of print is seen as a threat to the social and cultural order. It disturbs not only literary canons but also the political process. Because of its mercantile nature and its close connection with politics, journalism had become an emblem of the effects of monetary logic upon literary production.

In the early 1730s, the Grub-street author was already stereotyped in its essential features: a poor (generally) male author of very limited talents who persists in the ambition of earning his living by selling what he writes. Because he writes to be fed, he has to produce whatever the theatre impresario, the newspaper editor, the book publisher or the political patron demand from him. Constantly afflicted by debts and poverty, a garret is all that he can afford. Often portrayed in texts and pictures, the author living in garret was already by then one of the icons associated with the hack writer and the new literary commerce. Samuel Johnson, in “The Advantages of Living in a Garret” (The Rambler, Nº 117, Saturday, April 30, 1751), plays with this image of the debt-stricken author, by suggesting that this is in fact the natural and most convenient environment for authors. Oliver Goldsmith, in “The Description of an Author’s Bed-chamber”, originally published in the Public Ledger (2 May 1760), offers the following vivid picture of the author’s bedroom:



Where the Red Lion flaring o’er the way,

Invites each passing stranger that can pay;

Where Calvert’s butt, and Parson’s black champaign,

Regale the drabs and bloods of Drury-lane;

There in a lonely room, from bailiffs snug,

The muse found Scroggen stretch’d beneath a rug,

A window patch’d with paper lent a ray;

That dimly shew’d the state in which he lay

The sanded floor that grits beneath the tread;

The humid wall with paltry pictures spread:

The royal game of goose was there in view,

And the twelve rules the royal martyr drew;

The seasons fram’d with listing found a place,

And brave prince William shew’d his lamp-black face:

The morn was cold, he views with keen desire

The rusty grate unconscious of a fire:

With beer and milk arrears the frieze was scor’d,

And five crack’d tea cups dress’d the chimney board.

A night-cap deck’d his brows instead of bay,

A cap by night—a stocking all the day! (Goldsmith, IV, 374-375)


In The Distrest Poet (1737-1741), both a painting and an engraving, William Hogarth assembled in a powerful representation these and other features of the image of the Grub-street author (FIGURE 19). The family lives in a one-room garret with very little furniture. Signs of poverty accumulate: the cupboard is empty, their dog steals the last piece of food available, their baby is hungry and cries. A milkmaid stands at the door and asks in vain for payment of a lengthy bill. The poet’s wife, at the centre of the picture, is mending his only suit, while the poet is dressed in a ragged gown. He scratches his head, visibly distressed by his lack of ideas. Beside him he has Edward Bysshe’s The Art of English Poetry (1702), a guide for writing poetry, and two other books make up his very thin library on the shelf above him[2]. His pretension of social improvement by means of writing is suggested by various icons: by a shirt and lace cuffs hanging before the fireplace; by a sword and a great coat lying on the floor; by his own dishevelled wig. The Grub-street Journal, sitting on the floor, is an emblem for the print market, which seems to be the source of his utter destitution. Because he feels compelled to write in order to pay his bills, the author is either at the mercy of the unscrupulous publisher, who wants fast-selling commodities, or he has to serve the political interests of the newspaper patron. Yet, on account of his social ambition, the poet seems to be entirely responsible for his dire fate, since he persists in the illusion that he can prosper by writing and become a gentleman. In fact, he has no talent whatsoever and earns very little or no money at all. Thus he worsens his economic situation and the material poverty in which he and his family live is the consequence of his lack of wisdom.

By looking at changes in various states of the engraving and also at differences between the painting and the engraving, Ronald Paulson has identified another subtext in the prints represented on the wall behind the poet (II, 119-122). Paulson suggests that Hogarth’s portrait of Grub-street does not entirely coincide with Pope’s vision in The Dunciad (1728, 1729). In the third state of this 1737 version we see a map entitled “A View of the Gold Mines of Peru”, which provides a straightforward contrast to the poet’s distress and suggests the monetary motif for his efforts. In the painted version of this engraving, however, there is a different print on the wall, which represents Pope’s effigy in the body of a monkey, standing on a pile of books above a pedestal. A donkey stands beside the monkey. The caption to this print within the painting reads “Pope Alexander, His HOLINESS and his PRIME MINISTER”. This image gives Pope an ambiguous status: he is the eminent poet who was portrayed and caricatured many times, but also the Grub-street celebrity icon for other authors.

Whereas in the first version of the engraving the satirised poet could be directly identified with Lewis Theobald, the hero of the first version of The Dunciad, that identification was diluted in the published version. In the first version, besides the four lines from the Dunciad used as caption, the title of the poem he was composing was “Poverty, a Poem”. This title contained a direct reference to a poem effectively written by Theobald: The Cave of Poverty: A Poem, Written in Imitation of Shakespeare (1714), a title that was changed, in the published version of 1741, for “Riches a Poem”. Either of these titles enabled the viewer to oppose the reality of the poet’s situation to the fantasy that poverty could produce riches, in both the material and literary sense of the words.

Both these changes and the fact the Hogarth did not use the lines from the Dunciad in the published version of the print, imply a certain distance between The Distrest Poets’ and The Dunciad’s perspective on Grub-street. Hogarth’s personal insight upon the hierarchies of value in the literary world goes in a rather different direction. In a way that echoes A Harlot’s Progress, Hogarth’s satire is directed not only at the emulator who aspires to rise in the world of letters, but also at the very world that is the object of that emulation — the aristocratic world of peer-recognised talent and its cannons of value. Dulness, the goddess who presides over the new age of cultural chaos in The Dunciad, has been replaced by a woman of flesh and blood. By drawing the poet’s wife and the economic situation of his family, The Distrest Poet has re-framed the traditional stereotype of the poor hackney author in a broader social setting. Hogarth has clearly framed his portrait of the author against three different sets of conventions: the author as gentleman; the author as hack, and the author as classical laureate. The Distrest Poet thus captures hidden tensions in many eighteenth-century pictorial and literary images of the author.

My earlier research, centred on literary representations of the commerce of letters, has identified a number of images in poems, plays, novels and newspapers that structured the representation of literary production during the long transitional moment when writing entered the marketplace. A parallel analysis of pictorial representations would have to consider the specific aesthetic and ideological discourses that converge in portraits and caricatures. It would have to see how social self and author’s self are articulated within portrait conventions. It would also attempt to see how pictures respond to changing concepts of authorship that develop as a consequence of the growth of the market and the definition of literary property. Only then will I be able to try to answer the question that I have just begun to pose — what portrait of the author was there in the portrait of the author?



© Manuel Portela, 2002




List of Illustrations

FIGURE 1.  Abraham Cowley (1618-1667). Drawing by J. Thurston; engraving by W.H. Worthington, from the oil portrait in the Hall of Trinity College, Cambridge.

FIGURE 2. John Milton (1608-1674). Drawing by J. Thurston; engraving by J.T. Wedgwood, from the oil portrait by William Dobson (1611-1646).

FIGURE 3. John Dryden (1631-1700). Drawing by Thomas Unwins (1782-1857); engraving by E. Smith.

FIGURE 4. Joseph Addison (1672-1719). Drawing by G. Kneller; engraving by S. Freeman, from the oil portrait, by Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), painted before 1717.

FIGURE 5. Jonathan Swift  (1667-1745). Portrait attributed to Francis Bindon (c. 1700-1765).

FIGURE 6. Alexander Pope (1685-1744). Oil portrait (c. 1737, 61,3 cm x 45, 7 cm), by Jonathan Richardson (1665-1745).

FIGURE 7. John Gay (1685-1732). Drawing: J. Thurston; engraving: J. Romney, from the oil portrait by Michael Dahl.

FIGURE 8. Edward Young (1683-1765). Drawing by J. Thurston; engraving by W.C. Edwards, from the oil portrait by Joseph Highmore (1692-1780), in the Hall of All Souls College, Oxford.

FIGURE 9. Daniel Defoe (1660-1731). Engraving by Michiel Van der Gucht, from the portrait by Jeremiah Taverner, 1706.

FIGURE 10. Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). Engraving by R. Page, from the oil portrait by Joshua Reynolds (c. 1756-57).

FIGURE 11. Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774). Engraving by  Joseph Marchi (1770), from the oil portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1770.

FIGURE 12. Laurence Sterne (1713-1768). Engraving by J. Neagle (1798), from the oil portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1760.

FIGURE 13. Aphra Behn (1640-1689). Engraving by J. Fittler, from the oil portrait by Mary Beale (1633-1699).

FIGURE 14. Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762). Oil portrait by Jonathan Richardson (1665-1745).

FIGURE 15. Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806). Oil on canvas, 127x101.6 cm, by Joseph Highmore, c. 1745.

Figure 16. Anna Seward (1742-1809). Oil on canvas, 73.7 x 62.2 cm, by Tilly Kettle, c. 1762.

FIGURE 17. The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain: Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo. Oil on Canvas, 132.1 x 154.9 cm, by Richard Samuel, 1779. (Elizabeth Carter; Angelica Kauffman, Anna Letitia Barbauld, Elizabeth Linley, Catherine Macaulay, Elizabeth Montagu, Hannah More, Elizabeth Griffiths, Charlotte Lennox)

FIGURE 18. Grub-Street Journal, Nº 147, Thursday, 26th October 1732. Caricature representing newspaper production.

FIGURE 19. William Hogarth, The Distrest Poet (third state, c. 12 x 15 inches, March 1736/7). In its second state, there was a caption with four lines from Book I of Pope’s The Dunciad: “Studious he sate with all his books around / Sinking from thought to thought, a vast profound! / Plung’d for his sense, but found no bottom there; /Then writ, and flounder’d on, in mere despair.”




Buckridge, Bainbrigge (1969): An Essay Towards an English School of Painting [1706]. London: Cornmarket Press. Facsimile of the 1754 edition (3rd edition).

Einberg, Elizabeth (1997): Hogarth: The Painter. London: Tate Gallery Publishing.

Gibson-Wood, Carol (2000): Jonathan Richardson: Art Theorist of the English Enlightenment. Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.

Goldsmith, Oliver (1966): The Collected Works of Oliver Goldsmith. Edited by Arthur Friedman, vol. IV, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hogarth, William (1973): Engravings by William Hogarth: 101 Prints. Ed. Sean Shesgreen. New York: Dover Publications.

Paulson, Ronald (1992-93): Hogarth. 3 vols. Volume 2: High Art and Low, 1732-1750 [1992]. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press [1971, 1992-1993].

Portela, Manuel (2003): O Comércio da Literatura: Mercado & Representação. Lisboa: Antígona.

Richardson, Jonathan (1971): An Essay on the Theory of Painting [1715]. Menston, Yorkshire: Scolar Press. Facsimile of the 1725 edition (2nd edition), London: A. C.

Solkin, David H. (1992): Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century England. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.




[1] Among the portrait painters of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries also known for their oil portraits of authors, I should mention Mary Beale (1633-1699), who painted Aphra Behn (before 1689); Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), who painted John Dryden (1693), John Vanbrugh (c. 1704-1710), William Congreve (1709), Richard Steele (1711), Joseph Addison (c. 1703-1712) and John Gay (before 1723?); Michael Dahl (c. 1659-1743), who painted Alexander Pope (c. 1727) and Joseph Addison (1719); Jonathan Richardson (1665-1745), who painted Richard Steele (1712), Mary Wortley Montagu (1730s?), Alexander Pope (c.1737, and in 1738) and Matthew Prior (cf. Thomas Hudson after J. Richardson c. 1718); Charles Jervas (1675?-1739), who painted Jonathan Swift (c. 1709-1710, and in 1718) and Alexander Pope (c. 1713-1715); James Thornhill (1675-1734), who painted Richard Steele (cf. George Vertue, after Sir James Thornhill 1714); William Aikman (1682-1731), who painted John Gay (cf. George Bickham the Elder, after William Aikman, 1729);  Francis Bindon (c.1700-1765), who painted Jonathan Swift (c. 1724-1726); Jeremiah Taverner (?-1706), who painted Daniel Defoe (cf. Michael Van der Gucht, after Jeremiah Taverner 1705-1706); Joseph Highmore (1692-1780), who painted Edward Young (1740s?), Elizabeth Carter (c. 1745) and Samuel Richardson (c. 1747, and in 1750); Tilly Kettle (1735-1786), who painted Anna Seward (c. 1762); Mason Chamberlin (1722-1787), who painted Samuel Richardson (c. 1754); Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), who painted Samuel Johnson (c. 1756-1757, and in 1769), Laurence Sterne (1760) and Oliver Goldsmith (c. 1770); and Richard Samuel (?-1786), who, in The Nine Living Muses of Great Britain, painted Elizabeth Carter, Anna Letitia Barbauld, Angelica Kauffman, Elizabeth Anne Sheridan, Catharine Macaulay, Charlotte Lennox, Elizabeth Montague, Hannah More and Elizabeth Griffiths (1779). Many of these oil portraits were used by engravers as sources for the line and stipple engravings, etchings and mezzotints that portrayed authors in books.


[2] Its full title is The Art of English Poetry, containing I. Rules for Making Verses. II. A Dictionary of Rhymes. III. A Collection of the most Natural, Agreeable, and Noble Thoughts, viz. Allusions, Similes, Descriptions and Characters of Persons and Things: that are to be found in the best English Poets (2 vols.). This rhetoric guide and writing textbook for aspiring and self-instructed poets, first published in 1702, was often reprinted in the following decades (8 editions until 1737). In 1714, Bysshe added another two volumes to the original two, under the title The British Parnassus; or a compleat Common Place-book of English Poetry. These were reissued in 1718 as volumes III and IV of The Art of English Poetry. Edward Bysshe is described by the Dictionary of National Biography as a “literary hack” (DNB, III, 617).




[N] Paper written for the 23rd annual conference of the Portuguese Association for Anglo-American Studies, University of Coimbra (18-20th April 2002). Published in Isabel Caldeira (ed.), Novas Histórias Literárias / New Literary Histories, Coimbra: Minerva, 2005, pp.