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Mr Western dans Tom Jones



Mr Western : Tom Jones





height: 10.2cm
width: 8.8cm

Other materials

Watercolour, gouache and silver paint on vellum


Mr WESTERN / dans Tom Jones.


Purchased from Motley Books, July 2021.

Other number


Miniature painting by Jean Louis de Faesch, depicting the character of Mr Western in François-André Danican Philidor's opera 'Tom Jones', loosely based on the novel by Henry Fielding. It depicts Joseph Caillot who played the role at the opera's premiere at the Comedie Italienne in 1765.

This type of portrait of actors in character came into fashion in Paris during the 1720s, initially on enamel and ivory, and later on vellum. This fashion passed to England thanks to the relationship between the French actor Lekain and David Garrick. The success of these paintings led to a published edition in 1770 of 24 portraits, titled ‘Dramatic characters, or Different Portraits of the English Stage’. A French version was published around the same year: ‘Les Métamorphoses de Melpomene et de Thalie, ou caracteres dramatiques des Comédies Francaise et Italienne’.

This portrait appeared 20th in 'Les Métamorphoses de Melpomene et de Thalie', where the drawings are credited "dessiné d'après nature par Whirsker". It is unclear whether Whirsker was a pseudonym or a collaborator for de Faesch.
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