• Study of a Horse -
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    Signed with initials lower right: GH/1830 and later inscribed: G. Hayter

    Pen and brown ink

    235 x 177 mm., 9 ¼ x 7 in.

     

    Provenance:

    Sir John Clermont Witt (1907-1982);

    By descent until 2017

     

    This drawing is based on the horse in Van Dyck's `Charles I with M. de St. Antoine' in the Royal Collection. Hayter was a portrait and history painter who was appointed official painter to Queen Victoria on her accession in 1837. 

  • Study for `The Angels ministering to Christ’ -
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    Signed with initials lower centre: Decr. 19 1846 GH and inscribed lower left: To/H.C.H.

    Pen and brown ink

    210 x 158 mm., 8 ¼ x 6 ¼ in.

     

    The present drawing is a study in reverse for the head of Christ in the painting The Angels ministering to Christ, completed in 1849 and given to the Victoria and Albert Museum by the artist’s son Angelo, the year after the artist’s death. The inscription on this work, To/H.C.H, refers to his second wife, a widow (Helena) Cecilia Hyde (1791/2-1860), who he had married just a few months earlier, on 12 May 1846. Hayter painted several Old and New Testament subjects, as well as two large scale history paintings, depicting key Reformation events.

     

    Hayter’s personal life was rather unorthodox for the time and was probably the reason that despite his formidable reputation, he was never elected a Royal Academician. Married at a young age, to the former lodger in his parents’ house, he left his first wife and lived with his mistress. The ensuing scandal meant that Hayter left for the continent, moving to Italy for several years. In an apparent bid for attention, his mistress accidently killed herself in 1827. His first wife died in 1844 and two years later he remarried. He married for a third time in 1863, his second wife having died in 1860.

     

    Despite the Royal Academy’s censure, his unconventional personal life, however, does not seem to have affected his wider career or royal patronage. In 1831, Hayter was commissioned to paint a portrait of the then Princess Victoria, for her uncle Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, King of the Belgians. Consequently, Hayter returned to England and gave the Princess art lessons. On her accession in 1837, Hayter was appointed Painter of History and Portraits and in 1841, Painter in Ordinary to the Queen. The following year he was knighted.

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