WILLIAM MULREADY RA (1786-1863) Biography

Collection of 19 drawings & 9 etchings for Oliver Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield (England, c.1840)

pencil, ink and etching on paper
Two sheets autographed 'MS'; the collection is accompanied by three loose pages handwritten by the artist, signed with monogram 'W.M.' and dated 'March 1. 1840'
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Literature

Oliver Goldsmith, The Vicar of Wakefield, London 1844
Kathryn Moore Heleniak, William Mulready, Yale University Press 1980

Description / Expertise

One of the most successful of Mulready's illustrated books is Oliver Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield illustrated by the artist, whose simplicity and homely feeling were well suited to Goldsmith’s style.

The Vicar of Wakefield, first published in 1766, was extremely popular with the English reading public. Sir Walter Scott’s appreciation of the book was shared by many: We read [it] in youth and in age, we return to it again and again, and bless the memory of an author who contrives so well to reconcile us to human nature … the wreath of Goldsmith is unsullied; he wrote to exalt virtue and expose vice.

The Victorian reader agreed with this pious assessment and the novel was reissued repeatedly throughout the nineteenth century. In 1840 Mulready was commissioned to illustrate the book and produced 32 drawings, one for each chapter head. The etchings were conceived by John Thompson who was one of the best wood-engraver in England. This was the most extensively illustrated version to date, following earlier editions illustrated by Daniel Dodd (1780), Thomas Stothard (17920, Thomas Uwins (1812), Thomas Rowlandson (1817) and George Cruikshank (1830, 1832). Only the volume illustrated by Rowlandson with twenty-four aquatints approached Mulread’s in sheer quantity of illustration. Mulready’s drawings with its simplicity and homely feeling were well suited to Goldsmith’s style and were warmly received by the public and press. It maintained its popularity into the twentieth century and was reissued twice by Van Voorst (1848, 1855) and several more times by other publishers in London, Boston, and New York.

Mulready translated three of his illustrations into oils for exhibition (one currently at the V&A); two additional designs reached the stage of oil sketches.

The Drawings were engraved for J Van Voorst’s 1843 edition of The Vicar of Wakefield.

23 drawings, 9 proof prints and 2 sheets autographed MS., drawn 1840-43

The collection is made up of 20 drawings for the book and prints for:
Chapter 1, with pencil corrections and many notes by Mulready.
Chapter II, similarly corrected by notes.
Chapter III, three drawings and no print.
Chapter IV, two drawings.
Chapter V, one drawing.
Chapter VI, two prints and two drawings.
Chapter VII, one drawing.
Chapter VIII, two drawings.
Chapter IX, one drawing.
Chapter X, one drawing.
Chapter XI, one drawing.
Chapter XII nil.
Chapter XIII, one drawing.
Chapter XIV one print - Measuring the Heights with corrections in bodycolour and pencil and two drawings.
Chapter XV one drawing
Chapter XXI nil
Chapter XVII nil
Chapter XVIII one print
Chapter XIX and XX, both nil
Chapters XXI, XXII, XXIII and XXIV, all nil
Chapter XXV one print
Chapter XXVI one print
Chapter XXVII one print with pencil, extra figures etc and notes, verso.
Chapter XXVIII nil
Chapter XXIX one print
Chapters XXX, XXXI and XXXII - nil.

9 fine proof prints many with extra figures and or corrections in bodycolour and/or pencil.

In addition, three sheets of paper written by the artist: a list of subjects illustrating each chapter, some of the chapters afford this or more subjects and the other chapters are deficient in subject.
Verso, an agreement; five guineas for each drawing
The second sheet further comments regarding the work and dated with Mulready’s initials, W.M. March.1. 1840.
The third sheet a further related list and some scraps.

Pencil, ink and etching on paper
c.1861-2

Literature: - Drawings and prints all for to Oliver Goldsmith The Vicar of Wakefield.

23 drawings (17 pencil on paper and 5 pen and ink on paper) and print (one etching), mounted or not contained in one leather file imscribed Mulready, along with copies of those images and copies of notes by the artist, plus copies of catalogues.

Sheet 1 (5 ¼ x 6 3/8 inches, 13.3 x 16.3 centimetres):
Drawing
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch of the right hand, holding a stick
Image size: 3 7/8 x 5 ¼ inches, 10 x 13.5 centimetres

Sheet 2 (7 ¼ x 7 inches, 18.5 x 17.7 centimetres):
Drawing
Pencil on paper, mounted
Two sketches of the right hand, holding a stick
Image size: 5 ¾ x 5 ½ inches, 14.5 x 14 centimetres

Sheet 3 (9 1/8 x 13 ¾ inches, 23 x 35 centimetres):
Drawing
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch of the back of a dog, lying
Image size: 4 1/8 x 6 inches, 10.4 x 15.3 centimetres

Sheet 4 (13 ¾ x 9 5/8 inches, 35 x 24.5 centimetres):
Drawing
Pencil and white charcoal on paper, mounted
Sketch of a dog’s head from above
Image size: 3 7/8 x 5 3/8 inches, 10 x 13.8 centimetres

Sheet 5 (18 1/8 x 13 ¾ inches, 46 x 35 centimetres) with 5 drawings:
5a) upper left
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch of six persons, 4 adults (standing, man, profile/sitting man, front/standing woman, front/sitting man, back view), 2 children (climbing chair on the right, back view), drafted woman figure in the background
Image size: 3 ¼ x 3 5/8 inches, 8.2 x 9.3 centimetres
5b) upper right
Pencil on paper, mounted
Right foreground > man carrying a woman in his arms
Left middle ground > man with a hat, on his right a child/boy with a hat, running
Background > group of three figures, two sketches of a horse
Image size: 3 ¼ x 3 5/8 inches, 8.2 x 9.3 centimetres
5c) centre
Pencil on paper, mounted
Left > horse with two figures looking to the right > front view
Centre > horse with three figures (one adult with a hat, two children) > front view
Right > man standing, with hat and a horsewhip > side view
Image size: 3 ½ x 3 ¼ inches, 9 x 8.3 centimetres
5d) lower left
Pencil on paper, mounted
Left > two sitting children (on the ground, side view) and four adults (three woman, one man sitting, one man standing and leaning against the wall
Centre > a man, back view
Right > five figures (two woman sitting, two woman and one man standing)
Image size: 3 x 3 ¾ inches, 7.8 x 9.5 centimetres
5e) lower right
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch of seven figures sitting on a table (three women, four men)
Image size: 3 x 3 ¾ inches, 7.8 x 9.5 centimetres

Sheet 6 (18 1/8 x 13 ¾ inches, 46 x 35 centimetres) with 4 drawings:
6a) upper left
Pencil on paper, mounted
Foreground > two children, one is playing with a cat
Middle ground > a man sitting on a table with glasses on his forehead, a woman on his left and a boy (?) on his right looking over his shoulder
Background > two woman, standing
Image size: 3 ½ x 3 inches, 9 x 7.8 centimetres
6b) upper right
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch of three figures and a head with a hat (in the back ground) > a grieving woman, man holding her on her hips, child pulling her skirt
Image size: 3 ½ x 3 inches, 9 x 7.8 centimetres
6c) lower left
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch of eight sitting figures sitting on the ground, outside > centre > man with a hat> Chapter 8 Dining in the field?
Image size: 3 ½ x 3 inches, 9 x 7.8 centimetres
6d) lower right
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch of a man and a woman, standing front view, both with a hat, woman is holding a long stick, two other figures in the background > Chapter 6: Mr. Burchell assisting Sophia
Image size: 3 ½ x 3 inches, 9 x 7.8 centimetres

Sheet 7 (18 1/8 x 13 ¾ inches, 46 x 35 centimetres) > one etching, two drawings:
7a) upper centre
Engraving, heightened with gouache and watercolor > theme for Chapter XIV Measuring for heights
Image size: 4 ½ x 3 ¾ inches, 11.5 x 9.5 centimetres
7b) lower left
Pencil on brown paper, mounted
Sketch for Measuring for heights
Image size: 3 ¾ x 3 ¼ inches, 9.5 x 8.3 centimetres
7c) lower right
Pencil on paper, mounted
Sketch for Measuring for heights
Image size: 3 ¾ x 3 ¼ inches, 9.5 x 8.3 centimetres

Sheet 8 (18 1/8 x 13 ¾ inches, 46 x 35 centimetres) > 3 drawings
8a) top
Collage, brown ink on grey paper & black ink on paper, mounted
Image size: 2 ¾ x 3 3/8 inches, 7 x 8.5 centimetres
8b) middle
Ink on paper, mounted
Foreground > figure back view
Middle ground > man carrying a woman in his arms
Background > sketched figures sitting on a horse
Image size: 2 5/8 x 4 1/8 inches, 6.5 x 10.5 centimetres
8c) bottom
Collage, ink on paper, mounted
Foreground > man carrying a woman in his arms
Middle ground left > man with a hat, on his right a child/boy with a hat, running
Background > horse carriage with figures > in the water (?)
Image size: 2 ¾ x 3 3/8 inches, 7 x 8.5 centimetres

Sheet 9 (18 1/8 x 13 ¾ inches, 46 x 35 centimetres) > 4 drawings
9a) upper left
Pencil and ink on paper, mounted
Sketch of two children’s, one adult sitting on a chair > back view
Image size: 3 3/8 x 2 7/8 inches, 8.5 x 7.3 centimetres
9b) upper right
Pencil and ink on paper, mounted
Sketch of a man and a woman, standing front view, both with a hat, woman is holding a long stick, other sketched figures in the background Chapter 6: Mr. Burchell assisting Sophia
Image size: 3 3/8 x 2 7/8 inches, 8.5 x 7.3 centimetres
9c) lower left
Pencil on brown paper, mounted
Foreground left > group of two standing waving, one kneeling figure lacing a shoe, one child with hat waving
Background right > sketch of a man sitting on a horse > back view
Middle ground right > one waving child > back view
Image size: 3 3/8 x 3 inches, 8.5 x 7.5 centimetres
9d) lower right
Pencil on paper, mounted
Group of sitting figures sitting on the ground, outside > centre > man with a hat > Chapter 8 Dining in the field?
Image size: 3 3/8 x 3 inches, 8.5 x 7.5 centimetres

Etching originals

Chapter 1
3 figures
Sheet size: 15 x 16.5 cm
Etching size: 11 x 9.5 cm

Chapter 2
2 figures
Sheet size: 15 x 9 cm
Etching size: 10.5 x 9.4 cm

Chapter 6 a
2 figures
Sheet size: 18.5 x 14 cm
Etching size: 11 x 9.5 cm

Chapter 6 b
2 figures
Sheet size: 19 x 14.5 cm
Etching size: 11 x 9.5 cm

Chapter 18
8 figures
Sheet size: 15 x 17.6 cm
Etching size: 10 x 12 cm

Chapter 25
10 figures
Sheet size: 19.8 x 16.5 cm
Etching size: 12 x 11 cm

Chapter 26
6 foreground figures, plus background
Sheet size: 16 x 21 cm
Etching size: 10 x 15 cm

Chapter 27
5 foreground figures, plus background
Sheet size: 10.2 x 12.5 cm
Etching size: 10.2 x 12.5 cm

Chapter 29
15 figures
Sheet size: 16.6 x 20.5 cm
Etching size: 11 x 12 cm