Francis Hayman is remembered as an influential 18th-century painter of theatrical scenery and portraits, and as a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Hayman was born in Exeter, and records show him to have been working on scenery in London by the early 1730s. He also painted decorations for Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, including four large pictures for the Prince of Wales’s Pavilion. Among the distinguished clients for Hayman’s portraits was Grosvenor Bedford, deputy Usher of the Exchequer under Horace Walpole. Bedford commissioned Hayman to paint this intimate portrait of his son Charles, who later also became deputy Usher of the Exchequer. The portrait shows Charles Bedford, aged about two, dressed in a plain nightgown lying on a bed and eating a biscuit. The informal pose and details of the scene offer a fascinating glimpse into the early life of upper-class children in the 18th century.


Commissioned by Grosvenor Bedford, 1744-45; thence by descent; Wooley & Wallus 10 December 2014; John Mitchell Fine Paintings

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