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Francis Hayman, 1707/8–1776

The Good Samaritan

between 1751 and 1752
Materials & Techniques:
Oil on canvas
78 1/2 × 48 1/2 inches (199.4 × 123.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
Bible | bishop (prelate) | blood | blood (animal material) | bottle | costume | donkey | injuries | levite | men | mule | New Testament | nude | pity | pouring | priest | reading | religious and mythological subject | scroll (information artifact) | the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) | traveler
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

The parable of the Good Samaritan is unique to the Gospel of St. Luke (Luke 10:30–37) and was told by Jesus in response to the question: “And who is my neighbor?” Francis Hayman depicts the Good Samaritan tending to the wounds of a stranger on the road to Jericho while a priest and a Levite pass him by. William Wrightson, a member of Parliament, commissioned it as an altarpiece for a new chapel at Cusworth Hall, his house near Doncaster then being extensively remodeled. Wrightson was consequently a very unusual patron since devotional pictures were rare in Britain after the Protestant Reformation and, unlike Italy or France, few churches and chapels in Britain were adorned with altarpieces. Hayman was Wrightson’s natural choice because by 1750 he had established himself as the leading history painter in Britain and was defiantly British, although strongly influenced by the latest French painting.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Hayman's Good Samaritan was commissioned by William Wrightson, MP, as the altarpiece of his private chapel at Cusworth Hall in Yorkshire. The subject is Jesus's parable of the Good Samaritan taken from Luke 10: 25-37 in which a traveler is set upon by robbers, left for dead, and ignored by a passing priest and a Levite. A Samaritan takes pity on him and treats his wounds. Hogarth had painted a large canvas of the same subject for St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London in 1737 (the print is shown nearby), and the two compositions are closely related. Hayman's reputation as a history painter was high in the early 1750s, and he was able to charge £26 5s. for the altarpiece. This, however, is one of his few Biblical subjects, an indication of the lack of demand for religious painting in Georgian Britain.

Gallery label for Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)

Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Francis Hayman (Kenwood House, 1987-06-24 - 1987-09-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Francis Hayman (Yale Center for British Art, 1987-04-01 - 1987-05-31) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Brian Allen, Francis Hayman, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1987, pp. 55, 57-8, 122, 124, 176, no. 47, pl. IX, NJ18 H3324 A54 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 112-113, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 29, ND466 G67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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