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Autographs volume 3

RA Collection: Archive

Archive context

Showing item 3 of 9 in this group

Reference code



Autographs volume 3





Extent & medium

1 vol

Content Description

The letters in the first half of this volume were largely written while Lawrence completed his European odyssey in 1819 and 1820. Many relate to his friends and associations while in Rome. Lawrence fostered important friendships with Antonio Canova and Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire. Friendships begun in Vienna continued through the written word via Prince Metternich and Charles Vane Stewart.

Lawrence was almost within sight of Dover when he heard news of the death of Benjamin West. Lawrence's election as President of the Royal Academy of Arts was uncontested. His dramatic success at Aix-la-Chapelle, Vienna and Rome has raised his status to the point where many regarded him as the first painter in Europe.

The change in Lawrence's position has a large effect on the make-up of the archive; from March 1821 it is full of letters of complaint. Lawrence complains to Farington, and others, of the huge social demands that his new position as President lays upon him. The clear result on his practice is seen in the numerous letters of complaint from patrons as their pictures remained unfinished in Lawrence's painting room.

The volume ends with the death of Joseph Farington, with a particularly graphic account coming from William Farington of Parrs Wood, near Didsbury. The passing of Farington also brings to a close the important series of letters written by Lawrence to his friend.