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Garrick’s Muse? Eva Maria Veigel and her Husband

Lookup NU author(s): Dr James Harriman-SmithORCiD


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William Hogarth’s portrait of Eva and David Garrick appears to celebrate its subjects’ powers of discernment and cultural prominence. On the desk lie the freshly-penned opening lines of the prologue to Samuel Foote’s Taste. In the shadows a volume of Shakespeare reminds us of the role that David played in creating our national poet, while the pose of Eva draws on a long iconographical tradition of the genius-inspiring muse. Yet Garrick refused to purchase this apparently laudatory work. This chapter will explore some potential reasons for this decision, while enriching our understanding of both the portrait and the figures it depicts. By celebrating the taste of the Garricks, Hogarth worked on dangerous ground. As a soldier’s son and former wine-merchant, David had had to work hard to become a gentleman actor: such a proclamation of his status may well have risked exposing its fragility. After all, it is not hard to read this portrait critically. Is Eva here not just a muse but a guarantor of the thespian’s social graces? And is her careful pose a reminder of her own time as a dancer, albeit under the protection of noble patronage? Such questions point to the broader importance of Hogarth’s portrait: it encourages us to remember that David Garrick was not a solitary genius, but rather part of a double-act, and one which needed all the resources of both partners to maintain its prominence.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harriman-Smith J

Editor(s): Burden M; Thorp J

Series Editor(s): Blazekovic Z

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: With a Grace Not to be Captured: Representing the Georgian Theatrical Dancer, 1760-1830

Year: 2021

Pages: 30-45

Print publication date: 03/03/2021

Acceptance date: 10/04/2018

Series Title: Music and Visual Cultures

Publisher: Brepols Publishers


Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9782503583563