John Edwin and Mrs. Mary Wells as Lingo and Cowslip in "The Agreeable Surprise"
From the collection
Signed and dated in black chalk, lower right: "J. Downman | 1787". John Downman's drawing portrays John Edwin and Mary Wells in their roles as Lingo and Cowslip in John O'Keeffe's three-act comedy, "The Agreeable Surprise". The play was immensely successful, and between its opening at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in 1781 and 1800 it was performed more than 200 times. Inscribed in brown ink, on paper label attached to back of original frame: "For this Drawing | Georgina the celebrated and beautiful | Duchess of Devonshire | offered one hundred Guineas. | It is the only Picture for which Edwin | ever sat and such was his reluctance | that it was with great difficulty he was persuaded | to give Mr. Downman the Painter, three | sittings in the course of two years. | The resemblance is perfect. | 29th December1810 - J. S.(?).
Medium: Watercolour with gouache, black chalk and stumping
Credit Line: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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