F RO M LO N D O N TO LU C K N OW
A Re - D i s c ove re d C o l l e c t i o n o f D r aw i n g s by Jo h a n Z o f f a ny (1733 -1810)
2 8 t h Ju n e - 5 t h Ju l y 2 0 1 9
TO B E H E L D AT:
A N D R E W C L AY T O N - PAY N E 1 6 S AV I L E R O W L O N D O N W 1 S 3 P L
A Note on the Drawings
The Claude Martin group of drawings, a relatively recent rediscovery, are a significant addition to the oeuvre of Zoffany’s drawings which previously numbered a few sparse sheets (tripling the number of surviving drawings). Moreover, in their subject matter they are also of great interest – depicting allegories, moralising sentimental themes, as well as lofty historical and classicising subjects as well as references to more modern literature. Indeed, many relate to subjects painted by Zoffany, and in their humorous frivolity and imaginative machination they enliven a previously dim understanding of the great artist's working practices and artistic and personal sensibility. As recently as 2012, Mary Webster, lamented that ‘few Zoffany drawings are known and among them there are no preparatory sketches that can be linked to a finished picture’ – this is now no longer the case. Zoffany’s drawings are a wonderful amalgam of subjects and stylistic influences drawn from his early peripatetic life. In varying degrees, his drawings show the influence of his Northern European tutors Speers and Mengs, his time in Rome, studying the Roman and Bolognese Baroque schools including artists such as Domenichino, Cagnacci, Caracci, et al. and in some instances the classicism of Poussin, and the sentimentality of British art, both perhaps reflective of tastes derived from his later life in England on his return from India in 1789.
Zoffany, like so many artists of his age, was acutely aware of the ever-growing body of prints being disseminated by commercial entities and marketed to intellectuals, the growing middle classes, as well as to artists. The function and importance of such sources of knowledge in shaping the imagination and creativity of subjects conveyed in art of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries cannot be underestimated. He undoubtedly frequented the print shops of Rome, including that of Piranesi whom he befriended. And, in the sale held on Zoffany’s death, we know that it contained a large number of prints including some ‘after the Antique’ (presumably of sculpture), prints of the Farnese Gallery in Rome painted by Annibale Carracci, another book of prints after Carracci and a further volume of ‘celebrated pictures of the fine Italian masters in the Churches of Bologna’.
M A J O R G E N E R A L C L AU D E M A RT I N ( 1 7 3 5 - 1 8 0 0 ) Claude Martin was one of the most fascinating characters living in late 18th Century India. He was born in Lyon in 1735 and had the unusual distinction of having served in the French army before joining the East India Company’s Army. He eventually commanded the cavalry of the Nawab of Oudh. From humble origins, he accumulated a vast fortune by the time of his death in 1800, a large portion of which he left in his will for charitable purposes such as the relief of the poor in Lucknow and Calcutta and the foundation of La Martinière schools in India and France which flourish to this day. This collection of drawings was assembled by Zoffany for Claude Martin at Martin’s request. They were firm friends and the drawings seem to be a private group reflecting both their close friendship and their common interests.
Johan Zoffany (1733-1810), Portrait of Claude Martin, Black, white and red chalks on paper. 40 x 27cm. Cat. No.2.
P ROV E N A N C E
The artist by whom given to Major General Claude Martin (1735-1800), Lucknow, India, circa 1799 His sale, Tulloh & Co, Calcutta, 18 December, 1800 Purchased by Benjamin Wolff (1760 - 1866) presumably whilst in Calcutta,1817-1866, Engelholm Manor, Copenhagen By descent until sold Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen, 2018
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Portrait of Claude Martin, in profile Inscribed ‘T his I Tinck is Wery Leick’
Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Claude Martin arrived in Lucknow in 1775 to take up his appointment as Superintendent of the Lucknow Arsenal for the Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. He had left Europe in 1751, never to return, settling initially in Pondicherry. By 1760, having begun to regard with disesteem the French prospects in India, Martin deserted to the English to join their ‘Free French Company’. Lucknow was ‘the most dissolute and extravagant of the native courts that were independent of British rule in late eighteenth century India’. Martin built a magnificent palace, Constantia, to the south-east of Lucknow which became quickly replete with commissioned and collected works of art. He had extensive connections with the world of artists, collectors and dealers – Townley, Hamilton and the Society of Dilettanti in London, for example – and welcomed numerous artists, such as Zoffany, the Daniells and Thomas Longcroft, from whom he commissioned paintings. He amassed a huge library, scientific instruments, fossils, minerals and stuffed animals, antiquities and curiosities. He loved the ignominious life around him, and the riotous assembly of Europeans in the court surrounding Asaf-ud-Daula.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Portrait of Claude Martin Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
It is not yet entirely clear whether the two portrait drawings of Claude Martin in this group were worked up by Zoffany for the purpose of a particular commission: a painting, a design for a medal or perhaps even as an appropriate frontispiece for an album. What we do know, from Martin’s surviving correspondence, is that in 1797 he ‘hoped to receive the busts by Messers Zoffany and Renaldi’. It is worth noting here that Zoffany acted as an agent for Claude Martin after he arrived back in London in 1789. It seems probable that Zoffany was assisted in drawing these portraits from studies he had already made of Martin whilst in India.. The two portrait drawings in this group would be sufficient for a sculptor to design a bust. In La Martinière College, Lucknow there survives still a bust of Martin dressed in his colonel’s uniform. It has been suggested that Francesco Renaldi was the possible designer for a copper and silver medal (30mm in diameter) which was issued by Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula in 1797, and bears Martin’s profile image and motto. Perhaps these Zoffany portraits were done as a separate commission for new designs although no surviving medals can attest to the drawings ever being used for this purpose.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) P o r t r a i t o f t h e A r t i s t ’s D a u g h t e r, T h e r e s a Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Maria Theresa Louisa Zoffany known as Theresa, was Zoffany’s eldest daughter, born in 1777 (d. 1832). Her physiognomy is different from that of her younger sister Cecilia, who Zoffany portrayed in another drawing (see no.30 ) at around the same age, at a writing desk. Zoffany’s two other, younger daughters Claudiana and Laura, were born in 1791 and 1796 respectively. As a young girl, Theresa was portrayed by Zoffany in a self-portrait composition along with the musicians James Cervetto and Giacobe Cervetto painted circa 1780. There is also a later, yet comparable portrait of Theresa, by Zoffany painted in c.1802, at around the time of her marriage to the surgeon John Doratt (c. 1779-1863) and now in a private collection. Zoffany portrayed all of his daughters in a group portrait of his Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), Theresa Zoffany, oil on canvas, c. 1802, Private Collection, (black and white photograph).
family entitled Zoffany and His Daughters and Two Grandsons dating to around 1802-3, in which Theresa is portrayed seated at the harpsichord.
Zoffany has finished the cap and plume of feathers with a delicate sfumato shading effect which is achieved through the use of stumping.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Fo r c e d M a r c h Inscribed ‘Forsth March, Kanjain’
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
Inscribed in Zoffany’s phonetic English ‘Forsth March’, this drawing shows various poses of a classicised male abducting a female figure. Zoffany explores the idea of movement and force in each of the scenarios. The five distinct illustrations on the sheet are shown in isolation from each other and from any observable environment. The groups are shown in front, back, oblique and profile views. The theme is continuous but the movement, direction and choreography of each individual group is particular to itself and pays no heed to the other groups. Zoffany sardonically focuses the already inherent sexual implication by drawing a faint image in the lower right of the sheet of an amorous coupling of two dogs. Affixed with a title below “kanjain” (canine) which is most likely a pun on the words 'conjoin' and ‘canine’.
Albrecht Durer, (1471-1528), Abduction of Two women after Antonio Pollaiuolo, 1495, drawing, Musée Bonnat-Helleu, Bayonne.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) An Alle gor y of Pov erty Black, white and red chalks on paper 25 x 22 cm
A bare-footed mother is depicted with a baby at her breast, whilst an elder daughter pulls at her arm and another infant on her back eagerly leans over her shoulder demanding her attention. Her young son sits beside them looking on forlornly, wide-eyed and wide-mouthed, he holds his hat out upturned to beg. To his left is another lady, drawn in profile, wearing little more than rags, a baby sleeps on her shoulder and she too, holds her hand out to beg. Around 1770, Zoffany produced a painting entitled Beggars on the Road to Stanmore. Whilst the painting depicts an old beggar man (identified as the famous model, George White, a former paviour, discovered by Sir Joshua Reynolds in 1770), it also shows a mother, her suckling baby and a young boy which is suggestive of the group sketched in the present drawing – the boy’s wide brimmed hat which he holds in the drawing, in the painting has been abandoned on the floor – no longer needed - as he shows his mother the profits of his begging. On 29 August 1798, Thomas Daniell came to tea with the artist and diarist Joseph Farington and recounted to him that he had ‘been to-day to Norwood with Zoffany and Wm. Daniell in search of Gypsies – found an old woman and family – gave her half a crown – then questioned her abt. names of things – found Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), Beggars on the Road to Stanmore, oil on canvas, c.1770 Private Collection.
that 40 words were the same as the language of the natives of Bengal…’ One can imagine that the scene portrayed here of a begging woman with her children, is similar to ones Zoffany
might have seen on one of his ethnological study trips out of London. Indeed, Zoffany exhibited in 1797 only one painting at the Royal Academy, called A Beggar’s Family, which is currently untraced. It is hard to say whether the present drawing is a record of or a preparatory study for that work.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) A Frontispiece for an Extraordinar y Genius in Music Inscribed ‘a frontispiece For a Extraordinary Genius in Music’
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
In September 1797 an etching and engraving made by James Stow was published and used as the frontispiece for ‘Attempts to compose Six Sonnets and Six Sonatinas’ composed by William .E. Southbrook. The design for the print was taken in part from the present drawing. There are some minor variations between this drawing and the finished print so it seems likely that this is a preparatory study and, in the absence of any other versions, the only surviving study. Southbrook was only eleven years old when he wrote these compositions. In November 1797 an unnamed music reviewer for The Monthly Magazine described the compositions as ‘far above the age of the ingenious author, and induces us to prognosticate, that, by due application, and proper tuition, he will soon become a respectable composer.’ It is not known how or why Zoffany received this commission but, his love for music is well known and is documented not only within the pages of this collection but throughout much of his
Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), Title-page to 'Attempts to compose Six sonnets and Six Sonatinas' by Master W.E. Southbrook. Print made by James Stow, 1797, Etching and Engraving, British Museum, London.
oeuvre. A print of the present frontispiece can be found in the British Museum collection. In the drawing, a young boy, who we can take to be Southbrook himself, is led by an allegory of Fame towards the god of music, Apollo, who stands upon clouds with his emblematic lyre in hand. Southbrook bends down to offer his manuscript to Apollo who in the company of his coterie of cherubim beckons him forward to make the votive offering. A cherub plays an organ beside Apollo. It is interesting to note as an aside that Claude Martin’s villa in Lucknow, Farhat Bakhsh, listed within its inventory five separate organs. In a letter sent in late 1793 to William and Thomas Raikes, Martin’s London agents, he discusses his interest for mechanical music and barrel organs. Zoffany’s name is mentioned with respect to aiding Martin with a new barrel organ commission. The extent to which Zoffany was expected to assist is unknown but it is known that the organ was intended to be made and then sent to Farhat Bakhsh.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Pugilists Black, white and red chalks on paper 32 x 26 cm
The origins of boxing as a spectator sport lay in the prize-fights that formed an essential part of the entertainment typically offered by the summer fairs and backstreet gambling dens of late seventeenth century England. These fights would usually take place alongside other violent spectacles, such as cock-fighting and bear-baiting and were often split into several different rounds where wrestling and bare-knuckle boxing would be mixed with armed combat featuring sticks, knives and sometimes even broadswords. Boxing was to survive and flourish precisely because it could be accommodated within the sphere of polite entertainment. This was achieved during the course of the 1730s and 40s by the gradual introduction of rules and proscribed techniques that were designed to ensure fair play and limit excessive brutality. As enthusiasm for this more refined form of pugilism began to grow
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), The Boxing Match between Daniel Mendoza & Richard Humphreys at Stilton in Huntingdonshire 6 May 1789, Aquatint in sepia, engraved by Joseph Grover, British Sporting Art Trust.
among the middle and upper classes, boxing venues slowly migrated from the rural margins of London to the fashionable heart of the city. By the 1780s the patronage of the Prince of Wales, as well as the use of prints to bolster the popularity of champion boxers such as Daniel Mendoza and Richard Humphries, raised boxing to new heights of popularity. This prompted an influx of aristocratic fans and patronage into the sport with various Dukes and Lords conferring handsome stipends on their preferred champion as a means of securing the substantial amounts of money that was now being wagered in West End boxing clubs. Caricatures of the late Georgian period therefore tended to celebrate unreservedly the egalitarian nature of boxing as a reflection of the liberties enjoyed by British subjects. The popularisation of the sport coincided with a sudden shift in attitudes towards the playful transgression of gender roles which had characterised elite social activities during the middle decades of the century. In the wake of the disastrous loss of the North American colonies, the epicene male ‘macaroni’, and the gentlewoman who attired herself in masculine, military-inspired, fashions of the late 1770s, were pilloried by caricaturists as symbols of national decline.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) T h e A r t i s t a n d h i s Fa m i l y Inscribed ‘La Familia a Schee’
Black and white chalks on paper 28.5 x 25.5 cm
This present sheet shows Zoffany with his daughters and two grandsons. From left to right are shown Theresa (1777-1832) his eldest daughter playing the harpsichord, Claudina (1791- 1869) playing the harp, the child holding Zoffany’s arm is his youngest daughter Laura (1796-1876), and his second eldest Cecilia (1779-1830) is to his left, supporting her baby christened John Zoffany (1802-1804). The drawing relates to Zoffany’s The Artist and his Family , illustrated below, painted circa 1802-03. Compositionally the drawing does not diverge much from the finished painting, although Laura appears in the present sheet clasping the arm of her father as opposed to her final position which is on the far left of the painting. Cecilia’s eldest son Thomas is, for some reason, missing from the sketch. One could make the argument that this sketch dates from before Cecilia's youngest son, John was born, which would mean that the infant precariously standing on the edge of the harpsichord is, in fact,Thomas. This would explain his absence from the earlier composition and might also reveal to us why Zoffany shortened the easel in the finished painting. The background shows an arcade with a bust (which shows a striking similarity to Claude Martin, after whom his daughter Claudina was named in honour of) sitting on a pedestal supported by a telamon. This was possibly the background that Zoffany intended for the painting which remained unfinished. Theresa and Claudina look out to the left perhaps hoping to persuade their mother to join them.
Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), The Artist and his Family , c.1802-3, oil on canvas, Private Collection.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Punishment Black, white and red chalks on paper 22 x 25 cm
The subject has yet to be conclusively identified but it seems likely it depicts Zoffany himself punishing one of his children. It seems plausible that Zoffany was inspired by a well-known drawing made by an adolescent Hans Holbein, the Younger, in 1515, of a bare-bottom birching (see illustration below). Holbein had made the drawing in the margin of his schoolmaster’s copy of Erasmus’s “The Praise of Folly”. This was one from a series of ink illustrations his Latin teacher had asked him to draw in the margins of his own personal volume. The copy is now in Basel University Library. These juvenilia drawings by Holbein were later included as engravings in many subsequent re-printings of “The Praise of Folly”. Holbein had inscribed his drawing with the adage “Tyranis ludi magistrorum" (tyranny of the teacher). Zoffany had recently become a father again to two young girls, Claudina and Laura, born in 1794 and 1796. He had just turned 60 years old, a similar age to the switch wielding punisher in this drawing. Perhaps the young woman with her hand on the chair, who we can imagine is entreating mercy Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543), Tyranny of the Teacher, engraving, after a 1515 drawing.
for the young child, is Zoffany’s eldest daughter, Theresa, who at this time would have been around twenty years old.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) T h e A r t s i n Wa r Inscribed ‘the Arths in Warr’
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
The god of war Mars charges forward with his sword outstretched, accompanied by the Fury of War, Alecto, who leads with her burning torch and conducts Mars to battle. An artist with palette and brush in hand has been struck to the ground whilst a mother clutching her child lies in wait for the coup de main; cradled in the same arm as her child is the head of a lute. Another fallen figure rests his arm on what appears to be a statuette of the Townley Venus which lies face to the ground. To the right, an old man with a closed book under his arm calls out in front . Zoffany has altered and reimagined Rubens's The Consequences of War, an image of which he included in his 1770s masterpiece, The Tribuna of the Uffizi. Whilst Rubens's painting was in response to the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), Zoffany's drawing is surely a remark on the consequences of the French Revolutionary wars. Furthermore, art in Europe was beginning to be plundered on a hitherto unseen scale. This began in earnest under the Directoire and accelerated to new levels under Napoleon. On July 27-28, 1798, plunder seized in the Italian campaign was paraded through the streets of Paris in a “Festival of Liberty”. A banner on the cart carrying the Apollo Belevedere declared: “Greece ceded them, Rome lost them. Their fate has changed twice; it will not change again.”
Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), The Consequences of War, 1637-38, oil on canvas, Palazzo Pitti, Florence.
Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), Plundering the King’s Cellar at Paris, detail, 1794, oil on canvas, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) C e c i l i a Wr i t i n g Black, white and red chalks on paper 38 x 25 cm
A portrait of the artist’s daughter Cecilia Clementina Eliza (1779-1830) was most probably drawn in Zoffany’s house on the River Thames at 65 Strand-on-the-Green. Cecilia is framed by a large window through which light enters the room. Zoffany has cleverly rendered the effects of light which catch the edges of his daughter’s flowing transitional-style gown and casts assorted shadows below the table. The highly finished sketch is an intimate one; symbolic of a relationship and affection rekindled after Zoffany’s long six years in India which left his common-law wife Mary Thomas, estranged as she brought up two young daughters alone. Their house in central London had been rented in Zoffany’s absence, and their valuable belongings entrusted to the bank. On the desk in front of Cecilia lies a box on top of which lies a wig, probably Zoffany’s. Looking downwards, caught in concentration she writes or draws with a quill, an ink box open before her. The subject of young women writing or drawing was an appealing subject for artists (see below). Also open on the table is a folio of sheet music. Indeed, music could well be the source of Cecilia’s absorption. The Zoffany family was a musical one and Zoffany was close friends with Johann Christian Bach (1732-1782) . Furthermore, Zoffany’s late family portrait (c. 1799-1802), shows his daughters as keen musicians (as fashionable society of the time would expect cultured young ladies to be) in which Cecilia appears alongside her sisters Theresa, playing the harpsichord, and Claudina, playing the harp. In the late family portrait Cecilia is presented standing, the only wedded daughter at the time, as notified by the married woman's cap she wears, which is not dissimilar, interestingly, to the feathered top hat she wears in the present drawing. Much of what we know of the Zoffany family whilst living in Chiswick, and of Cecilia’s younger years, has been preserved in the diaries of Charlotte Louise Henriette Papendiek (1765-1840), a family friend and socialite who was was also a lady-in-waiting to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, consort to George III of Great Britain.
Writing in her diary in 1788 when Cecilia would have been around eight years old, Mrs Papendiek writes:
“On my way home I called upon Mrs. Zoffany and I invited her to stay with me, with her two little girls, Theresa and Cecilia, then, I should say, about eleven and eight years old. In a few days she arrived, and at once consulted me about sending her daughters to school, for they were now evidently losing time. I strenuously recommended Streatham, but again Mrs. Roach’s establishment found favour on account of its more accessible position, and with her they were placed in due course. They were to be my little pets, and I begged Mrs.Roach to lose no opportunity of bringing them forward in all points of elegance.” By all accounts Cecilia was extremely beautiful, and clearly this was a point of great pride for Zoffany, who adored his children. It is a notion that is testified to by the fact that she sat, aged ten, for the artist in 1790 for a portrait that was to be the artist’s first publicly exhibited work on his return to England submitted to that year’s the Royal Academy exhibition but is now untraced. Indeed, Mrs Papendiek relates that Cecilia’s beauty led to Colonel Martin of Leeds Castle, Kent, a ‘handsome-looking, amiable and kind-hearted man and of immense property’ demanding her hand in marriage – probably around the time of the present sheet - when she was about ‘sixteen or seventeen years old’. Cecilia turned down the proposal, probably on account of Martin’s greater age, much to the consternation of her father. Mrs Papendiek recalled that ‘her beauty never faded with her increasing years’ and in 1799 Cecilia married Thomas Horne, the son of a prominent local schoolmaster and clergyman whose portrait Zoffany had also painted, and who conducted the ceremony in Chiswick parish church. Whilst the families knew each other and were friends and neighbours, by all accounts the marriage caused some disagreement between Zoffany and the Hornes.
Cecilia would bear eight children from the marriage but it was not a happy one and Cecilia’s early blissful youth - as so lovingly shown by Zoffany in the present work – was turned on its head by a tumultuous later life, wrought by the couple’s separation and her battle to keep custody of her children from her estranged husband. The problems would culminate in October 1825, when Cecilia appeared in court, charged with abducting her ten-year-old daughter, of which she was found guilty and sentenced to fifteen days’ imprisonment. Such a case, especially involving the daughter of one of Britain’s most well-known artists, must have meant the case was a cause célèbre and no doubt humiliating for Cecilia, for whom the whole affair must have been extremely trying. She died only five years later in 1830. .
Paul Sandby (1731-1809), A Lady Copying at a Drawing Table , c.1765, red chalk, black chalk, and graphite on paper, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Susanna and the Elders Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Susanna was an apocryphal Old Testament heroine whose innocent virtue triumphed over villainy. Susanna, a married Jewish woman, is left to bathe in the garden by her maids upon which, two elders, having plotted to seduce her, surprise her. They threaten that unless she gives herself to both of them they will publicly accuse her of adultery with a young man – a crime punishable by death. Susanna spurns them, but they carry out their threat. Brought before a court on the false charge she is saved from condemnation to death at the eleventh hour by the young Daniel, who comes forward and elicits contradictory evidence from each of the two elders by separating them from each other and cross-examining them. The subject was extremely popular across Northern Europe in the 18th century and Zoffany painted the scene twice in the 1760’s. He returned to it again later in his career, exhibiting a version in 1796 at the Royal Academy, which is currently untraced. It seems likely that the present drawing relates to that version.
Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), Susanna and the Elders, 1760. Stadtisches Museum Simeonstift, Trier
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Study of an Indian Cow Inscribed ‘Taros Kaw abord the duchess of Florens’
Black, white and red chalks on paper 27 x 41 cm
This exquisitely rendered study of a cow was drawn by Zoffany in 1789 whilst aboard the Grande Duchesse on his passage home from India. In early January 1789, Zoffany began his journey back to England from Calcutta. His health was already “much impaired”, according to a letter dated the 15th February 1789, sent by Gavin Hamilton to Ozias Humphry. He travelled aboard the Grande Duchesse, a French ship sailing under Tuscan colours and destined for Livorno via Cadiz. En route, at St Helena he transferred ships to an East Indiaman, the General Coote. Zoffany arrived back in England on the 16th August, 1789. Unsubstantiated stories of a shipwreck and cannibalism on the voyage home have proved to be nothing more than apocryphal. However, it does seem likely that Zoffany suffered a stroke aboard either the Grande Duchesse or the General Coote, this story at least can be corroborated by multiple contemporary sources. Claude Martin in a letter dated the 8th January, 1789 wrote to Charles Townley that 'I will Regret him, but he must quit this Country, he Grows old.'
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Neptune and Amphitrite Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
Zoffany portrays Neptune, ruler of the sea, enthroned and embracing Amphitrite his Nereid wife. Below Cupid, with his bow in hand, looks up at them. According to De Astronomica, a book that compiled the myths associated with the constellations and supposedly written by Gaius Julius Hyginus in the 1st century BC, Neptune had fallen in love with Amphitrite, but she fled from him and sought refuge with Atlas. Among those Neptune sent out to look for her was Delphinus, who managed to find her. Amphitrite agreed to marry Neptune and in gratitude he turned Delphinus into the constellation Dolphin. Earlier in his career c.1755, Zoffany produced a complex pastel drawing of the same subject, illustrated below. It is now housed in the Maximilian Speck von Sternburg Stiftung, in Leipzig.
Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), Amphitrite , c.1755, pastel on paper, Maximilian Speck von Sternburg Stiftung, Leipzig.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Samson overcome by the Philistines Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
The subject of this drawing is the moment Samson, having slept with Delilah his lover from Sorek, is betrayed by her to the Philistines who drag him from his bed after his hair has been cut, the source of his indomitable strength. Zoffany was greatly inspired by prints and became a competent etcher. Three examples date to the 1750s. Two of the subjects, Death of Lucretia and Brutus at the death of Lucretia, do not survive, however his etching of the Blinding of Samson does – it portrays the moment directly after the scene depicted in the present drawing: the Philistines having subdued Samson, gouge out his eyes.
Johan Zoffany RA, (1733–1810), The Blinding of Samson, c.1758, Etching, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) A Fa m i l y M o u r n i n g b e s i d e a G r a v e Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Although the exact subject of this drawing has yet to be identified Zoffany has reconstructed the traditional memento mori picture into an image that can be applied in a more general manner, one that is more direct, less recondite.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) A Study after a Design by Nollekens Inscribed ‘a Monument of the General Officers in the ..of Lord Haughton(?)’
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
A design showing the figure of Fame blowing a trumpet on top of a pedestal with two genii (guardian spirits in Roman mythology) holding three male portrait medallions between them. To the left, Neptune lunges with his trident at a fallen woman who is holding up an open but empty box, she represents both Anarchy and the defeated French fleet. Britannia who leans on the right side of the pedestal, rests her foot on the lowered woman's neck. This drawing relates closely to Joseph Nollekens's only public commission. The V&A design, illustrated below, is the second one of six, for the front of the proposed monument to three naval captains, who died in 1782 in the Battle of the Saints, during the American War for Independence. The monument was finally erected in Westminster Abbey in 1793 and is significantly different from these earlier designs. In the present drawing, Zoffany, who must have had access to Nollekens studies, has made minor variations to Nollekens original conception: Neptune thrusts more decisively and Fame is positioned facing out with her trumpet extending down and to the left as opposed to up and to the right. According to John Thomas Smith, in “Nollekens and his Times”, Zoffany and Nollekens had become “extremely intimate” after Zoffany’s return from India.
Joseph Nollekens, (1737-1823), Second Submitted Design for the Monument to the Naval Captains, William Bayre, William Blair and Lord Robert Manners, 1782, chalk V&A Museum.
Joseph Nollekens, (1737-1823) First Submitted Design for the Monument to the Naval Captains, William Bayre, William Blair and Lord Robert Manners, 1782, ink and wash Soane Museum.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Caritas Romana Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Zoffany produced a few works relating to this subject a Rubensian style pastel c.1757 (Private Collection), a sketch which dates from his Italian period c.1775. (Biblioteca Marucelliana, Florence) and a painting of Caritas Romana by Zoffany, which was listed in the effects of his patron Baron von Berberich on his death in 1784. More closely related, however, is a painting of the subject, now in the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne which Zoffany painted in 1769-71. Mary Webster has noted the similarity between the figure of Pero portrayed in the Melbourne painting and the mother in Beggars on the Road to Stanmore dated to the same period, and has suggested that the model might be the same whilst having identified the model for the old man in both works as George White, the famous artist's model used by painters such as Joshua Reynolds, John Hamilton Mortimer and Benjamin West. Roman Charity depicts a story told by the Roman historian Valerius Maximus in his Nine Books of Memorable Johan Zoffany, Roman Charity, c.1770,
Deeds and Sayings written around AD 30. The story
oil on canvas, National Gallery of
involves Cimon, an old man who was imprisoned and
sentenced to death by starvation. His daughter Pero visited him, and suckled him at her own breast like a child. Peroâ€™s nourishing of Cimon was considered a supreme act of filial piety.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) T he Birth of Pulcinella Inscribed ‘Nachita of Pulcinella’
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
A humorously imaginative scene depicting the birth of the celebrated Neapolitan commedia dell’arte character Pulcinella who became widely popular across Europe in the 17th century. Much of the appeal was in the duality of his character, as determined by the characteristics inherited from his two parents, Maccus, who is described as being terribly witty, sarcastic, rude, and cruel, while Bucco is a nervous thief who is as silly as he is conceited. Pulcinella therefore often plays dumb, though he is very much aware of the situation or he acts as though he is the most intelligent and competent, though he is woefully ignorant. In this drawing, a room full of pulcinelli welcome the birth of a newly born kinsman. In other depictions of the birth, such as Tiepolo’s drawing below, Pulcinella is shown hatching from a huge turkey egg, most probably a play on the word “pullicino” which derives from the old Italian word meaning a chick. It seems likely that Zoffany’s inscription is a playful pun on the Italian word ‘nascita’ meaning birth which he corrupts to ‘naschita’ referring to Pulcinella’s descent from a bottom.
Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804), Pulcinella is Born to a Turkey-Mother, c.1795-1804, Pen and wash, Collection of the late Sir Brinsley Ford, London.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) T he Second Set Inscribed ‘T h Seconth Seth’
Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Boxing, during the 1790s, was fought bare-knuckled, before the sport became regulated under the Queensbury rules during Zoffany's lifetime they fought under the Broughton rules which had come into effect in 1743. Grasping and punching below the waist was outlawed as was hitting an opponent whilst lying on the floor. Bare-knuckle fighting causes less brain damage than gloved boxing but more spectacular with sanguineous facial damage. It is more conspicuously violent. The aftermath of that violence is what Zoffany shows here. The injuries are largely implied the sad stoop and limp right hand of the defeated fighter, the flannel held to his mouth which hides the blood and bruising. The victor
Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), Six Stages of Marring a Face, 1792, Hand-coloured etching on paper, British Museum, London.
does, however, sport a painful looking cut over his left eye. Prize-fighters were, more often than not, men from lower social classes who fought to earn money. Some of these fighters were butchers, farriers, brewers and fishermen, who originally boxed on the streets for their own amusement. It was fights outside a village tavern, like the one shown here, where men were spotted for their talents. Most notably, one of the great fighters of this era John "Gentleman" Jackson, was patronised for a time by Lord Byron. ‘If the chance presented itself, one fighter might catch hold of his opponent and toss him to the ground or floor, then fall upon him if he fails to instantly roll away. It was considered manly and proper to kick a man when he was down, the word 'purring' was employed to describe this activity and eye-gouging was common practice with the fighters and hugely enjoyed by the spectators. The use of fists was relatively incidental.’ Nathaniel Fleischer
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) A Dream Inscribed and dated ‘A…..sep.tr.10-1797-'
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
It seems probable that this drawing was made in reference to the outstanding money owed by the Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula (1748-1797) to Zoffany. As early as 1789, Claude Martin had remarked in a letter to Ozias Humphry that “Ours good & worthy friend Mr Zoffani…. is not yet paid… to this day he has not yet Receive a farthing from the Vizier’. Zoffany had applied in 1798 to the East India Company for permission ‘to return to Bengal to settle his private affairs and to practise as a painter’. Perhaps Zoffany felt that it would take something in the form of a witches sabbath to impel the Nawab to remunerate him. The present drawing is a fantastical nightmare which perhaps draws on the grotesque and imaginative works of the early Netherlandish artist, Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), the sinister designs of Hans Baldung Grien (c.1484 - 1585), Jacques de Gheyn II (c.1565 1629), Salvator Rosa (1615-1673) and the French artist Claude Gillot (1673-1722). Zoffany portrays a nude, old witch who steps forth and performs an incantation whilst holding a wand in her left hand. Above her head demons swirl, one with the Nawab Asafud-Daula’s decapitated head tied to its waist. In its hand is held an unmarked packet which we can assume to be Zoffany’s owed payment. Behind the incanting witch are two nude figures; one impaled upon a wooden spike as the other lewdly hugs it. To the right, two witches stir a cauldron whilst at the foot of the sheet, a skeleton preforms an act of torture on a figure so maleficent in nature that it horrifies an onlooking satanic beast. In the background, an enlarged bat looms. The Nawab died on 21 September 1797, only eleven days after this drawing was made. Zoffany would not have found out about this news for at least six months. It is not entirely clear whether Zoffany was ever repaid.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Pe rs e u s a n d P h i n e u s Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Taken from Ovidâ€™s Metamorphoses, Medusa was a snake-haired Gorgon whose appearance was so terrible that whoever looked at her was turned to stone. To protect his mother Danae, Perseus had to bring the severed head of Medusa back to King Polydectes. In order to behead her, Perseus uses his polished shield to look at her reflection. Andromeda was betrothed to Phineus, until Perseus rescued her from a sea monster on his way back to Serifos and it was agreed she would marry him instead. At the wedding feast, Phineus and his followers burst in to attack Perseus, who unveiled the snake-haired head of Medusa and turned them to stone. Perseus is shown in the drawing wearing the Cap of Hades.
Annibale Carracci and Domenichino, Perseus and Phineus,1604-06, fresco, Palazzo Farnese, Rome.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) An Arcadian Scene Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
In this drawing Pan, the god of woods and fields and flock, and a Greek personification of lust, is depicted playing his syrinx – reed (pan)pipes - with his shepherd’s crook beside him. He is accompanied by a nymph and a satyr as a group of putti playfully tumble through the sky toward them. It is unusual to see Pan depicted without the hindquarters and legs of a goat, although there are precedents for this.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Diana and Actaeon Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
From Ovidâ€™s Metamorphoses, Zoffany portrays the moment when the young prince Actaeon, whilst out hunting in the forest, accidentally stumbles upon the grotto where Diana and her companions are bathing. To punish him for his glimpse of divine nudity, the goddess turns him into a stag and his own hounds devour him. The 17th century Bolognese artist Francesco Albani made several paintings on the subject of Diana and Actaeon. The Dresden version, illustrated below, relates closely to parts of the present drawing. Zoffany was not, as the pages in this group demonstrate, an artist who laboriously re-works earlier precedents without considered innovation or alteration.
Francesco Albani (1578-1660), Diana and Actaeon, c.1640, oil on canvas, GemĂ¤ldegalerie, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Diana bathing Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
Diana looks out to the viewer whilst washing her feet with a white cloth in the shallows of a river. In the background her companion dries her hair. Abstractedly Diana, her companion, and the bundle of robes in the foreground are imitated in shape and situation by the bluff and bush on the far bank.
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), Diana Bathing, c.1715-16, red chalk on paper, Albertina, Vienna.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Self-Portrait Signed and inscribed ‘Wohlr amici Zoffany/Dec 24 1796’
Black, white and red chalks on paper 35.5 x 26.6 cm
This self-portrait was drawn by the artist on Christmas Eve 1796, at the age of sixtythree. This is the most complete and finished of Zoffany’s self-portraits on paper. Holding his porte-crayon over what we would like to imagine is the present album of drawings, and following the directive found on the title page, he proceeds to ‘fill it up with his remarks.’ William Pressly has argued that the artist used the conceit of depicting himself as the philosopher Democritus, traditionally shown with a wry smile, meditatively posed and with a slightly inclined head. The age-old intermixture of melancholy with genius was often found in Renaissance and Baroque portraiture and Zoffany seems to have knowingly depicted himself as 'the solitary great man in whom sadness and inspiration were intertwined.’
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Satan summoning his Legions Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
Thomas Lawrence’s work of the same title had been exhibited at the Royal Academy annual exhibition in May, 1797. It is reasonable to suggest that Zoffany was directly inspired by Lawrence’s work. Besides the similarities in pose and position of the figures in both pictures, the two Satans share the same classical accoutrements: crested helmet, muscle cuirass, flowing paludamentum with unseen fastening, ponderous shield, and towering spear. Like Lawrence’s treatment, Zoffany has made Satan and Beelzebub wingless and nude.The white chalk is used sparingly but briskly. Around Satan’s eyes two downward strokes of the white chalk stand out energetically against the horizontal black chalk lines that trace the supraorbital bones above the eye.
Sir Thomas Lawrence P.R.A (1769-1830), Satan Summoning
David Bindman has suggested that for English artists in the 1790s, Satan’s ‘heroic defiance of the Almighty could be taken as a model of resistance to a distant and
his Legions, 1796-97, oil on canvas, Royal Academy, London.
arbitrary power… The French Revolution, especially as it passed beyond the stage when English radicals could regard it as a new dawn for humanity, began to appear even more Miltonic, as destruction, chaos and envy seemed to attend it’.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) First Sk etch for the Altarpiece at Brentford Cha pel Inscribed and dated ‘Firstt Schic For Brentfort Capell.1797’, (first Sketch for Brentfort Cha..)’
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
It is thought that George III himself suggested that Zoffany paint an altarpiece of the Last Supper for the King’s parish church at St Anne’s, Kew. Zoffany's painting of The Last Supper which was painted for St John's Church in Calcutta (1787), had been received with great acclaim. It is not known entirely why St Anne's, Kew rejected the finished painting but the most often repeated story claims that it was his choice of sitters. Appropriately enough, the majority of the disciples were said to have been modelled on fishermen from the local area, the Strand. Zoffany supposedly cast himself as St Peter and his own common-law wife, Mary Thomas, as St John. The face of Judas Iscariot was by repute a distinguished member of St Anne’s Vestry, a lawyer with whom he had quarrelled over making his will. Johan Zoffany RA (1733-1810), The Last Supper, c.
Another version of events suggests that
1796-97, oil on canvas, St Paul's Church, Brentford.
Zoffany had in fact based all the figures, except for Christ, on likenesses of himself. Both these and other versions cannot be verified. After St Anne’s refused to pay, Zoffany gave the painting to St George’s, Brentford, just across the river. In 1959 when St George's closed, the painting was transferred to St Paul's, Brentford. It can now be seen on the north wall of the chancel. Zoffany’s altarpiece was originally a triptych, with angels on its wings and a painting of an angel astride a cross surrounded by cherubim which was to hang above the Last Supper scene. In this drawing both central images are combined into one design. In the finished painting, Zoffany has amongst other alterations, lowered the perspective and included in the foreground two Veronesesque serving boys.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Fro m t h e Fr y i n g Pa n i n t o t h e F i re Inscribed ‘From th Fier in the Freing Pan’
Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
The scene is one of pandemonium. Venus appears to be chiding Cupid who holds an arrow in one hand and covers his face with the other. Two satyrs and a nymph frolic below them. In the foreground, a man looks worryingly at a collapsed female figure who he carries in his arms. The phrase 'out of the frying pan into the fire' is used to describe a situation that goes from bad to worse, often as the result of trying to escape from the bad one. This proverb appears to have its roots in the fables of the 15th century Italian scholar Abstemius, who wrote around two hundred apologues based on the themes of Aesop's fables. Zoffany has confusingly inverted the saying and inscribed the sheet 'From the Fire in[to] the Frying Pan'; perhaps he intended to describe a scene of moving from a very bad situation to just a bad situation.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) A n A l l e g o r y o f Fo r t i t u d e Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
Pallas Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and righteous war is shown triumphant over a pile of defeated combatants. She is abetted by Hercules who strikes with his club a personification of Envy, an old woman with drooping breasts and snake-coiled hair. Hercules wears as protection the impenetrable hide of the Nemean Lion, the spoil of his first labour. Curiously, Zoffany has added an attribute of Deceit to the figure of Envy in the manifestation of a held out mask. Behind the figure of Envy other fallen earthly vices, such as Calumny and Detraction, await their fate. The tablets, recalling Moses, are held aloft by a figure placed just below Athena. This is likely to be a reference to laws being broken. Athena is Herculesâ€™s guardian and half-sister and when presented together they represent the virtue of fortitude.
Sir James Thornhill (1675-1734), Allegory of Fortitude, detail, 1708-1714, oil on canvas, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) T h e Te m p t a t i o n o f S t A n t h o n y Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
Anthony the Great was born in Upper Egypt and on the death of his parents he distributed his property amongst the poor and retired into the desert. As such, he is generally regarded as the founder of monasticism. Like other hermits, he was subject to vivid hallucinations resulting from his ascetic life in the desert â€“ often these are in the form of demons, or erotic visions. Anthony is often portrayed, as here, being tempted by a nude female vision - flames licking around her head to remind us of her satanic geniture.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) S i n i o r C a z a n i g o s M a r r i a g e i n To s c h a n a , 1 7 9 7 Inscribed and dated ‘Sinior Cazanigos Mariags in Toschana,1797’
Black, white and red chalks on paper 40 x 27 cm
The subject of this drawing has yet to be identified.
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Jupiter and Antiope Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
In the top half of the sheet Antiope, a nymph and daughter of the Boeotian river god Asopus, is about to be surprised by Jupiter, who is in the form of a satyr. She is awoken from her sleep and then ravished by him. Antiope is shown reclining in a woodland setting whilst Jupiter as a satyr – horned and goat footed – approaches and draws back her robes. Cupid nearby draws his bow and arrow. Below, is a scene of putti playing with one micturating on an arrow end which is simultaneously being sharpened. The image of young boys urinating, puer mingens, has a long history in Western Art, both in painting and sculpture. The subject was
Florentine, Putto Urinating on a KnifeGrinder’s Whetstone, c.1490, Niello print, Départmement des Estampes et de la Photographie, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris.
sometimes used as an augury of fertility and fortune. The grinding of the whetstone may also represent a satirical joke, or as the 16th Century Italian writer Matteo Bandello termed it 'sexual milling'. Zoffany's scene is a direct visual rendition of a line from a sonnet by Petrach in Il Canzoniere ‘ in che in suoi strali Amor dora et affina’ ( no. 151.7-8).
J o h a n Z o f f a n y, R . A . ( 1 7 3 3 - 1 8 1 0 ) Recto: T he End Ve r s o : P a n a n d a S a t y r s u r p r i s i n g a s l e e p i n g N y m p h Inscribed ‘Fines’
Black and white chalk on paper 40 x 27 cm
Zoffany humorously imagines the impoverished artist (possibly a whimsical self-reference), driven to death by his extenuating circumstances and now lying in a coffin, whilst his wife reads his will and their young children and dogs play around the casket. The verso shows Pan and a satyr surprising a sleeping nymph. Zoffany’s uses white chalk to bathe the nymph in a billowing and luminous epiblema. Although difficult to interpret, the white billowing could represent a goddess's path from the moon. If that is the case, then the figure is Selene, the goddess of the moon, being seduced by Pan. The lower half of the sheet appears to show Apollo about to flay Marsyas.
verso: Pan and a Satyr surprising a sleeping Nymph
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