Wednesday 5 October 2011

James Parmentier Portrait of Eliza Haywood

The James Parmentier portrait of Eliza Haywood—engraved by George Vertue—was first published 12 August 1723 as a frontispiece to the "Fifth" edition of Ab.1.5a Love in Excess. The advertisement begins: "This Day is publish’d, (With the Author’s Effigies curiously engraven by Mr. Vertue) …" The Parmentier portrait was next issued—with the same description—as a frontispiece to the Aa.3.0 Secret Histories, Novels and Poems on 23 December 1724, and was reissued in the "Second," "Third" and "Fourth" edition of this collection in 1725, 1732 and 1742.

There were two issues of the first of these five editions, but no copy of the first is known. Of the second (in Aa.2.1 The Works) only one of the thirteen copies listed on ESTC definitely has the portrait (CSmH [357090]), but I am yet to confirm whether or not the National Trust copy recently added to ESTC (ex libris Margaret Luttrell [Dunster Castle]) has the portrait. No copy of the second edition of this portrait is known (from the first edition of SHNP), because no copy of this set has been recorded, but there are thirty-five copies known of the remaining editions. These are listed at the end of this post.

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The James Parmentier portrait of Eliza Haywood is described by Alexander Pope thus:

  Fair as before her works she stands confess'd,
  In flow'r'd brocade by bounteous Kirkall dress’d.
  Pearls on her neck, and roses in her hair,
  And her fore-buttocks to the navel bare.

152. Kirkall, the Name of a Graver. This Lady’s Works were printed in four Volumes duod. with her picture thus dressed up, before them.

The features mentioned (a low-cut brocade dress and a rose in her hair) make it clear that Pope had seen the Vertue engraving, or the Parmentier painting on which it is based, before he penned these lines. And, though he mistakes the name of the engraver, it is possible that he records details of the Parmentier portrait (the pearl necklace) which were not included in the Vertue engraving. Of course, Pope may have been just "accessorising his verbal picture with a blazon-tradition cliché befitting his satirical mode," as Janine Barchas claims here.)

Barchas continues:

The beauty spot under Haywood’s right eye; the flower tucked behind her ear; the brazen, direct gaze; the dramatically plunging neckline; the ruffled informality of what appears to be a dressing gown; and the unfastened locks of hair arranged suggestively over both shoulders—all these visual clues make abundantly clear to an Augustan audience that the nature of the accompanying writing is amatory in nature. Like the epistolary conceit of the later novel, the engraving's cameo conceit (the likeness is framed as a private miniature on ivory and pinned to a background with a ribbon) licenses and enhances the intimate nature of the portrait. The result works as clever advertisement. In coarse language, it is a pin-up of the "Great Arbitress of Passion," promising another sensational bodice-ripper to the potential customer.

As this interpretation suggests, and Pope’s description of the plate in The Dunciad (1729) makes clear, Vertue’s image of Haywood is indebted more to the déshabillé portraits of the lovers of swaggering Restoration rakes than to the frontispiece portraits of estimable writers such as Homer, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare and John Milton. Vertue’s Haywood is more Nell Gwyn than Katherine Philips.

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A question that I raised in my Bibliography, which is increasingly interesting me, is when and where was the portrait issued, how many times the plate was recut (how many versions of the portrait are there), and where are the surviving copies of this portrait. When I sat down to write my "Appendix L: Portraits of Eliza Haywood" I only had access to two, very poor, copies of the portrait, which were on microfilm (the 1725 and 1742 portraits, below).

Nothing much has improved in ten years. There were no clear copies of Haywood's portrait readily available online until I posted them on this blog this week. Ironically, I obtained the high resolution images I have posted above from online sources, but the images were in inaccessible places, and invisible to search engines. Hopefully, they will now be readily discovered and widely used.

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In addition to copies of the portrait that survive in the five editions listed above and below, there are likely to be a number of copies which have been separated from one of these editions. One such is at the National Portrait Gallery in London (here).
[UPDATE 12 July 2015: two more are in the Royal Collection, catalogued at RCIN (656107 and 656108)]
The NPG copy survives in a Grangerised set of the eight volumes of The Early Diary of Frances Burney 1768–1778, ed. Annie Raine Ellis, 2 vols. (1889) and The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay 1778–1840, 6 vols (1904). These two works have been expanded with "approximately 2,700 engraved portraits and topographical views, plus other reproductions, drawings and some manuscript material" (inflating them to an amazing "25 folio volumes"!). The Haywood portrait—a copy of which I have ordered—is in vol. 1, pt. 1.

It is quite likely there are more to be located in Grangerised sets like these. If for no other reason, Mark Noble and James Granger encouraged it by including an entry for Haywood in their A Biographical History of England, from the Revolution to the End of George I's Reign (1806), 3.311 (Class 9 [Class 8 below is a typo]: "Men of Genius and Learning" here).

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Nine copies of the third edition (in the 2nd ed. of SHNP): L []; O [Harding M 238; Vet. A4 f.159]; CtY-S [Ik.H336.C725b], DLC [PR3506.H94.A68 1725], IU [v.1–2 only], NNHuC, NNU-F [Brit.], PU [Singer-Mend.823.H339].

Eleven copies of the fourth edition (in the 3rd ed. of SHNP): L [], Olmh [823.59 65]; CaOHM [B14525–28], FU [823.5.H427s 1732], ICN [Case Y 1565.H32], IaU [PR3506 .H94 1732], IU [Nickell x823 H33S1732], MNS [825 H329s 1732], MnU [Wilson 824H33 I], NhD [825 H33 M], NIC [Rare Books PR3506.H94 A72 1732].

Fifteen copies of the fifth edition (in the 4th ed. of SHNP): L [12614.c.13], BRG [BC823.69], REu [Reserve 823.59 HaY], LEu; CaBVaS [PR 3506 H94 A1 1742 v.1–4], CLU-C [*PR3506.H94A1 1742], CtY-S [Ik H336 C725d], DLC [RB 35], ICU [PR3506. H91 1724], IU [x823 H33S], MdBJ-P [823 H427S c. 1, -v.2], MH [15493.16.29.5], MiU, MnU [824.H33 I]; EuGG [8 FAB IX, 1080].

From this it appears that there are only two libraries in the world where it is possible to compare three editions of this portrait (L and IU) and three where it is possible to compare two editions (CtY-S, DLC and O). There are twenty-one copies in the US, nine in the UK, two in Canada and one in Europe. And none in Australia. Yet.

[UPDATE: 2 July 2016: After all my pictures disappeared again I decided to give up on external hosts for large versions (1000px) of my image files and, for now on, will stick with the smaller images (500px), which Blogger is prepared to host.]

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