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Paintings: G0020


Robert Baddeley


Oil on canvas



Sir Harry Gubbin : The Tender Husband; or The Accomplished Fools



Height: 34.3cm
Width: 26.3cm


John Bell; Charles Mathews

Other number

Mathews 177
RW/CKA 264

Exhibition history

1833 London, Queen's Bazaar, Oxford Street, "Mr Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits" (177)

Engraving history

Philippe Audinet for Bell's British Library 28 July 1791, line 11.75x7.9 (inscr: "De Wilde del ad vivam"), published Bell's British Theatre (1797), vol 20, with the line quotation, "Come, come, I won't be us'd thus" Anon. Printed for C. Cooke 24 January 1807, line 12.2x7.6 (with the line quotation,"Don't disgrace me, sirrah! / you grim graceless rogue. / Vide Act I Scene I")


"Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News" 15 July 1919, wood engr., inscr: "Mr Baddeley as Sir Harry Gubbin / in / 'The Tender Husband' / after a Drawing by / DE WILDE / (1790)"

The quotation inscribed under the Audinet 1792 engraving and used by Mathews is inappropriate. The action in Act V, scene 2, requires Sir Harry to draw a sword against Mr Tipkin, whose niece he thinks is going to marry his son Humphrey. The 1807 engraving has the correct quotation from Act I, scene 1, where Sir Harry threatens his son with a "crab-stick" to show Mr Tipkin what authority he has over the boy. Baddeley bangs his "crab-stick" on the table. In his other hand he holds a black tricorn hat, He wears black shoes, white hose, purple breeches, coat, and waistcoat, and a white shirt with the loose stock in his left lapel.
Steele's comedy was originally performed at Drury Lane on 23 April 1705. Baddeley acted Sir Harry Gubbin for the first time on 6 April 1772, at Drury Lane. His performance on 17 April 1789 was the last one given before De Wilde painted this picture. The inscription "De Wilde del ad vivam" on the engraving suggests that the plate was taken from a drawing rather than a painting. Three other plates in the 1797 edition of Bell's “British Theatre” seem to have been engraved from drawings rather than paintings. There are oil versions of all of them in the Garrick Club: G0071, G0140 and G0657.
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