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A Pindarick Ode on Painting Addressed to Joshua Reynolds, Esq.   By: (1705-1778)

Book cover

First Page:

The Augustan Reprint Society



Addressed to Joshua Reynolds, Esq.


With a preface by Frederick W. Hilles and a biographical introduction by J. T. Kirkwood

Publication Number 37

Los Angeles William Andrews Clark Memorial Library University of California 1952


H. RICHARD ARCHER, Clark Memorial Library RICHARD C. BOYS, University of Michigan RALPH COHEN, University of California, Los Angeles VINTON A. DEARING, University of California, Los Angeles


W. EARL BRITTON, University of Michigan


EMMETT L. AVERY, State College of Washington BENJAMIN BOYCE, University of Nebraska LOUIS I. BREDVOLD, University of Michigan JOHN BUTT, King's College, University of Durham JAMES L. CLIFFORD, Columbia University ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, University of Chicago EDWARD NILES HOOKER, University of California, Los Angeles LOUIS A. LANDA, Princeton University SAMUEL H. MONK, University of Minnesota ERNEST MOSSNER, University of Texas JAMES SUTHERLAND, Queen Mary College, London H. T. SWEDENBERG, JR., University of California, Los Angeles


EDNA C. DAVIS, Clark Memorial Library


The poem here reprinted has remained unread and, with a single exception, apparently unnoticed from the day it was published until the present. It is printed from a copy which I acquired many years ago at a London bookstore and which for a while I thought unique. I did not find it listed in the catalogues of the chief libraries of England or America, nor in the various books on anonymous publications. I have found no mention of it in the newspapers and magazines of the time, no mention of it in contemporary letters or diaries. The one man in England who took the trouble to record the ode for posterity was, as might be expected, Horace Walpole, who in his manuscript Books of Materials merely noted that the poem had been published in 176 8 ( Anecdotes of Painting ... Volume the Fifth , ed. Hilles and Daghlian, Yale University Press, 1937). When challenged to locate Walpole's copy of the ode, the greatest of modern collectors was able, after perhaps forty five seconds, to say not only that it was in the Houghton Library at Harvard but that on the title in Walpole's hand was the information that the poem was published on the sixteenth of May, a fact which would otherwise be unknown. A third copy was in the possession of the late Professor Heidbrink of Northwestern, inscribed in a contemporary hand "T. M., M.A." and thus, possibly, the author's own. There are, then, three known copies extant. Doubtless others will be found, bound up with pamphlets of the same vintage, as yet uncatalogued.

What Walpole did not know was the name of the author, and quite possibly the ode would have remained unread and unnoticed for another two centuries had Mr. Kirkwood not brought to light the letters which are first published in the introduction that follows. From these letters and a few known facts the history of the ode seems clear enough. Reynolds had a number of relatives living in Great Torrington. In the summer of 1762 when he and Dr. Johnson went to Devonshire they were entertained by Morrison. Johnson's published letters prove that he did not forget Morrison, and Reynolds was soon painting the portrait of Morrison's daughter. In the summer of 1766 Morrison sent his ode to Reynolds. The following January he learned that Johnson, "as severe a Critic as old Dennis," praised it and ordered it to be published. Reynolds himself must have arranged for the publication.

The publisher selected was William Griffin, who a few years later was to bring out some of Sir Joshua's Discourses . The work of the printer was only moderately well done. It will be noted that whose (second line of stanza V) is obviously a misprint for whole , that the second line has dropped out of stanza XXXIV (Mr... Continue reading book >>

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