John Hamilton Mortimer

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John Hamilton Mortimer
Pen and black ink on paper.
11 x 8 1/4 inches (280 x 210 mm)
Purchased on the Sunny Crawford von Bülow Fund 1978.

A painter, draftsman, and etcher, John Hamilton Mortimer is known for his history painting in the manner of Salvator Rosa, but his work also comprises portraiture, decorative interiors, and book illustration. The Morgan's collection includes two drawings by Mortimer--"Design for the Frontispiece to Bell's 'British Theatre,'" vol. IX, London 1777 (1975.29) and "Studies of a Cavalier and Armor" (1982.96)--as well as eleven books with engravings after his designs. "Reposo," or rest, served as the model for one of a series of fifteen etchings designed by Mortimer and dedicated to Sir Joshua Reynolds, president of the Royal Academy. Mortimer published the suite on December 8, 1778, to coincide with his election to the Academy. A copy of the etching, in the same direction, and possibly by Mortimer himself, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The figure of Reposo may be compared with Mortimer's banditti, the heavily muscled male figures often clothed in armor and bearing weapons which populate some of the artist's best-known drawings and paintings.

Leonard Baskin (1922-2000), Northampton, Mass.; from whom purchased by Frederick J. Cummings, New York; from whom consigned to Ronald L. Winokur, Los Angeles; from whom purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Deane F. Johnson, Los Angeles; W. M. Brady & Co., Inc., New York, from whom purchased by the Morgan Library.
Associated names: 

Baskin, Leonard, 1922-2000, former owner.
Cummings, Frederick J., former owner.
Winokur, Ronald L., former owner.
Johnson, Deane F., former owner.
Johnson, Deane F., Mrs., former owner.


B. Nicolson, John Hamilton Mortimer ARA, 1740-1779: Paintings, Drawings and Prints, Eastbourne, Towner Art Gallery, and London, Kenwood House, 1968, exh. cat., under no. 108; J. Sunderland, John Hamilton Mortimer: His Life and Works, The Fifty-Second Volume of the Walpole Society [1986], Leeds, 1988, p. 187, no. 140.5a, fig. 249; New York, W. M. Brady & Co., Inc., Master Drawings, Oil Sketches and Sculpture 1740-1900, no. 4, repr.