1853 Two Autograph Letters Signed by Richard Rothwell, Anglo-Irish Portrait and Genre Painter.
Letters to the manager of the Crystal Palace Picture Gallery about the exhibition of Rothwell’s paintings
Two letters by Richard Rothwell concerning the exhibition of his paintings in Dublin and Brussels. Richard Rothwell (1800–1868) was an Anglo-Irish portrait and genre painter who mainly exhibited in England and Ireland. Both letters addressed to Henry Mogford, F.S.A., manager of the Picture Gallery at the Crystal Palace in London.¹
In one letter, Rothwell expresses concern over the proper hanging of his Venetian-inspired semi-nude painting, Calisto. A subsequent hanging of this same painting was the cause of a controversy between Rothwell and the president of the 1862 International Exhibition in London.
The second, undated letter bears a pencil annotation by Joseph Mayer who owned Rothwell’s painting Sleeping Boy. Rothwell mentions the Brussels exhibition, asks Mogford if he is the forwarding agent (for same?), apparently seeking a space at the exhibition.
ODNB notes, in part, Rothwell “...lived in Ireland, the United States of America, London, and finally Italy, but never satisfied the potential exhibited on his arrival in London in the late 1820s. His portraits are highly accomplished: fine examples include those of the novelists Gerald Griffin (1830s, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin) and Mary Shelley (1841, National Portrait Gallery, London). After some twenty years of producing portraits he turned to subject pictures, such as The Poor Mendicants (exh. RA, 1837 and Royal Hibernian Academy, 1838; Victoria and Albert Museum, London), which was engraved in 1841 and distributed by the Royal Irish Union. His involvement with the Royal Irish Art Union gained him the admiration of the Irish nationalist poet Thomas Davis .... His [Rothwell’s] funeral was arranged by Joseph Severn, who is remembered for his portrait of Keats; he was buried next to the poet in the protestant cemetery in Rome.”
Description: 1853 Two Autograph Letters Signed by Richard Rothwell, Anglo-Irish Portrait and Genre Painter.
[London?]. March 26, 1853. [2½]pp. [and] [London?]. nd. pp. Two A.L.S. 8vos. Folds; each letter with paper residue from old mounts on verso of second leaf; the dated letter with lightened—but legible—ink; both o/w very good.
Ref. ODNB. Note. 1. Shenton, ed., Guide to the Crystal Palace and its Park and Gardens (London, 1858), pp136–137.