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William Mulready, 1786–1863

Mr. Peregrine Touchwood Breaking in upon the Rev. Josiah Cargill

Former Title(s):

Carghill and Touchwood

Mr. Peregrine Touchwood breaking in upon the Rev. Josiah Cargill. – St. Ronan’s Well” [1832, Royal Academy of Arts, London, exhibition catalogue]

Materials & Techniques:
Oil on panel
21 × 17 inches (53.3 × 43.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
bicorne | blue | books | boots | cabinets (case furniture) | chairs | coats | collar | cravats | hat | inkwell | interior | literary theme | men | portrait | reading | redingote (overcoat) | rod | Saint Ronan's Well by Sir Walter Scott, 1823 | stockings | trousers
Associated People:
Rev. Josiah Cargill, minister of St Ronan's (character in Sir Walter Scott's Saint Ronan's Well)
Peregrine (Scrogie) Touchwood (character in Sir Walter Scott's Saint Ronan's Well)
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

The subject of this humorous picture is taken from chapter seventeen of Sir Walter Scott’s novel St. Ronan’s Well (1823), which begins with a quotation—seen on the frame—from Samuel Butler’s satirical poem Hudibras (1663–78). The painting shows the meddlesome nabob Peregrine Touchwood barging in on Josiah Cargill, the learned minister of St. Ronan’s, while the latter is deep in studious contemplation. The scene sets up the classical distinction between two competing ways of life: the vita activa (the life of action) and the vita contemplativa (the life of contemplation). But, as Scott’s story explains, after the two spend an afternoon together discussing their knowledge of the Holy Land (Touchwood’s comes from experience, Cargill’s is from books), both come to understand each other better, “and the familiarity led to their forming a considerable estimate of each other’s powers and acquirements.”

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

William Mulready (Victoria and Albert Museum, 1986-06 - ) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

William Mulready (Ulster Museum, - 1987-03) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

William Mulready (National Gallery of Ireland, - ) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 166-167, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 46, ND466 G67 (YCBA) [YCBA]

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