Valentine Green after Thomas Gainsborough
David Garrick Esq.,
19.5 x 29 inches
A full length portrait of the famous actor-manager, David Garrick, in a rural landscape, arm draped around the bust of William Shakespeare.
Garrick commissioned this portrait from Thomas Gainsborough, the society portrait painter, and it was exhibited at The Royal Academy in 1766. Gainsborough was thrilled with the commission and the publicity it would bring him and wrote: ''I intend with your approbation my dear friend to take the form from Shakespeare's pictures and statue just enough to preserve his likeness past the doubt of all blockheads at first sight, and supply a soul for his works...''. In the background we see Prior Park, the home of Garrick's friend Bishop Warbutton. The original painting was sadly destroyed by fire in 1946.
Valentine Green was born in Worcestershire circa 1739. He began his working life in a lawyer's office but soon became a pupil to an obscure line-engraver in Worcester. In the 1760's he arrived in London and exhibited at Spring Gardens in 1766. In 1775 he was appointed associate engraver to the newly formed Royal Academy and mezzotint engraver to His Majesty, King George III. In 1789 he was fortunate enough to obtain the exclusive privilege of engraving the pictures in the Dusseldorf Gallery. He completed over twenty plates but unfortunately much of the work was destroyed in a siege of the town in 1798. He died in London in 1813.