The Volunteers of the City and County of Dublin, as they met on College Green, the 4th of Nov.r 1779.To his Grace William Robert Fitzgerald, Duke of Leinster, &c [...]
London, Published as the Act directs 10 May 1784 by R. Lane and Sold by J. Boydell
Engraving, sheet 480 x 640mm (19 x 25¼"). Trimmed to image. Edges tatty.
Large engraving from Francis Wheatley's important painting of the Dublin Volunteers (Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland). On the outbreak of the American War of Independence, the lack of English troops to protect Ireland against possible French invasion led to the formation of local militias, who the local gentry were keen to join. Wheatley, fleeing London to escape debt collectors (and the irate husband of Elizabeth Gresse, who joined him passing as his wife) arrived in Dublin in summer 1779. Sensing the importance of the moment, he documented the meeting recorded here, one of the first, which was held to commemorate the birthday of William III. Grinling Gibbons' bronze statue of the monarch on horseback, later destroyed, is shown here. Sketching on the spot, Wheatley later made a watercolour sketch (London, Victoria & Albert Museum) and the oil painting which met with approval although no buyer was found (Wheatley eventually held a raffle to dispose of it). Webster, however, suggests that 'in all probability Wheatley intended from the first to have the picture engraved in the hope of a large sale, especially to those included in the picture'. By 1784 the picture was in the possession of the Duke of Leinster, to whom this print is dedicated. A keyplate identifying the many portraits in the picture was also produced. The portraits include the Duke of Leinster, Luke Gardiner, Sir John Allen Johnston, the Rt Hon David La Touche, J. Fitzgibbon and J.N. Tandy, Sir Edward Newenham, Counsellors Pethard and Caldbeck, the commanders of the corps represented. Looking out of a window and holding a parasol is the Russian Princess Dashkow. The buildings in the background include the campanile of Trinity College by Richard Castle, demolished in 1798.
Webster, 'Francis Wheatley'. Ex Collection Duke of Westminster.
[Ref: 38491] £420.00