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Wright, Joseph, 1734–1797

Exhibition of Mr. Wright's Pictures at Robin's Rooms, Great Piazza, Covent Garden.

England, 1785.
Physical Description:
1 v. (26 p.) ; 15 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
ND497.W75 A4 1785a
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
In 1785, the painter Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797) organized a one-man exhibition of his work at the Covent Garden auction rooms of Henry Robins. The setting for the show was a response to the Royal Academy's failure to elect him as a Royal Academician in February, 1783. Paintings exhibited included The Lady from Milton's "Comus", The Indian Widow, Penelope Unravelling her Web, Julia in a Cavern by Moonlight, two Hero and Leander subjects, A Distant View of Vesuvius, two views of Dovedale, A Wood Scene, Moonlight , and the large View of Gibraltar During the Destruction of the Spanish Floating Batteries, 13 September 1782. The show was very well reviewed, with the General Evening Post for 12-14 April 1785 stating that "it is universally acknowledged by artists and amateurs to be the noblest spectacle of the kind ever shewn in this kingdom".
Stitched, in contemporary marbled wrappers.
Autograph manuscript, in pen and black ink, copied by Joseph Wright of Derby, of the favorable review of his 1785 exhibition which appeared in the General Evening Post for 12-14 April 1785. The review treats each of Wright's 25 paintings in turn, with praise offered for all of them. The review notes the title of each painting, describes their subjects, and summarizes the general effect given by each. It also quotes from literary texts that formed the subject of nine paintings in the exhibition.
Three shorter texts, also in Wright's hand, complete the small pamphlet volume. There are two six-line poems, titled "Impromptu on Mr. Wright's Picture representing the Widow of an American Chief" and "On the Picture of Penelope," concerning two paintings in the exhibition. Both are untraced, perhaps from contemporary journals. A final short excerpt quotes a Royal Academy notice lamenting the lack of Wright's work in a current exhibition. On the inside of the front wrapper are two contemporary inscriptions (in unidentified hands), one dated March 5th, '85.
Subject Terms:
Art criticism -- England.
Exhibitions -- England -- London.
Painting, British -- 18th century -- Exhibitions.
Robins (London, England)
Royal Academy of Arts (Great Britain)
Wright, Joseph, 1734-1797 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Wright, Joseph, 1734-1797 -- Exhibitions.

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