Zoffany 200

This year is the 200th anniverary of Johan Zoffany’s death.

The artist, closely associated with the River Thames, died on 11 November 1810.

It seems that the bicentenary exhibition planned appropriately for Thames-side Tate Britain has been cancelled for fear that it will not attract enough people.

The Royal Academy of Arts has stepped in but cannot fit it in until 2012. Fortunately that will be the 250th anniversary of Zoffany’s arrival in England from Germany.

But this year there is publication of a book Johan Zoffany: Artist and Adventurer by Penelope Treadwell (PHP £50; paperback £30).

This seems expensive but the book is a delight and has 200 colour illustrations.

The author is an expert in her field and was fired to write the book by living in Zoffany’s riverside house at Strand-on-the-Green.

When Zoffany lived in Covent Garden he had a country home at Chiswick. Its church is depicted in The Sharp Family painted in 1779. The family are on the towpath opposite with the Thames and church seen to one side of the group.

He knew Hampton well and in 1762 had painted David Garrick and his wife taking tea by the river. He also depicted them outside the Shakespeare Temple, again with a river view.

The artist is most associated with Kew where he is buried in the churchyard on the green. His tomb looks out to the Thames and his house beyond at Strand-on-the-Green.

See pages 54, 55 & 68.

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