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Paget, John, 1811-1898

Album of drawings, etchings, and watercolors.

Physical Description:
1 album ; 28 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NC780.P34 A43 1829+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Drawings & Watercolors
John Paget was the second son of Thomas Paget of Humberstone, Leicestershire, where he was born in 1811. He was called to the Bar in 1838. In 1850, he became secretary to Lord Chancellor Truro and subsequently to Lord Chancellor Cranworth, and was appointed a police magistrate in 1864. He was a frequent contributor to Blackwood's magazine from 1860 to 1888, many of his articles being subsequently published under the title Paradoxes and puzzles, historical, judicial and literary (1874). Paget was also a talented artist. He provided illustrations to Edward Fordham Flower's Bits and bearing-reins (1875), in which Flower advocated for the abolition of equestrian harnesses and gag-bits. Politically, Paget was an ardent Whig. He joined the Reform Club when it was founded in 1836, and was a member of the library committee there for twenty-four years, and chairman of it from 1861 to 1865.
The album has been recently rebound in dark blue crushed morocco.
Album of 196 drawings, etchings, and watercolors by John Paget, executed from 1829 to 1843 (most from 1832 to 1834). The illustrations depict rural pursuits, social and political satires, and character sketches. The work dates to Paget's young adulthood--before he was called to the bar in 1838--with caricatures and sketches produced from the age of 18, providing insight into his early political views. The drawings include a balance of works executed in graphite or in pen and ink, with a small number of more finished watercolors.
During this time, Paget was an ardent Whig, and he enrolled himself among those who were prepared to fight for the Reform Bill--the album containing a number of examples of Reform Bill caricatures. Among other political satires, there is an engraving (with original sketch) promoting popular rights, entitled "Sindbad & the Old Man of the Sea."
The album opens in 1829 with engravings of local gentry and their horses--Mr. Cradock at Humberstone, and Hobson at Humberstone. Throughout, hunting and rural pursuits are a constant theme, both in caricature and conventional drawings. There is a fine hunting watercolor, labeled "Wellsbourne ford, June 21, 1834." Paget seems to have a certain fondness for animals--a preponderance of the drawings include horses, dogs, or cats. The is a full-page self-portrait, in graphite, captioned, "On the 17 August 1833, I walked from Humberstone to Stratford on Avon, 48 miles ... I bought a hedgehog from boys that were plaguing it & carried it in my handkerchief & turned it up when near Guys Cliff." There is also a pen and ink drawing, signed John Cruel, depicting an emaciated horse, being whipped up hill in its efforts to convey a carriage, laden with pie-eating supporters, to a meeting of the Leamington Humane Society.
Devils are another common theme, appearing in many of the political satires, and also tormenting sleepers (shades of Fuseli here). There are also more conventional character sketches of family and friends--and possibly foes--and also one depicting a lady playing billiards.
Subject Terms:
Animal welfare -- Great Britain.
Great Britain -- Politics and government -- 1830-1837.
Great Britain. Parliament -- Reform.
Horses -- Pictorial works.
Paget, John, 1811-1898.
Satires (Visual works)
Watercolors -- 1829-1843.
Etchings -- 1829-1843.
Graphite drawings -- 1829-1843.
Ink drawings -- 1829-1843.

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