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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: July 2017

4 - Angelica

from Anne Hunter's life


In order to eke out Robert Home's small income as a regimental surgeon, he and his wife took in lodgers. The first of these was the painter Angelica Kauffman, who had been brought to England from Italy in June 1766 by Lady Bridget Wentworth. Angelica stayed initially with Lady Wentworth in Mayfair, but in September she took rooms for the winter with the Homes in Suffolk Street. She wrote to her father: ‘I am in a private house with excellent good people, old acquaintances of Lady Wentworth […] The lady is a mother to me, and her two daughters love me as a sister.’ She had four rooms: one in which to paint, one in which to show her pictures, a small bedroom and another for her clothes. She paid ‘two guineas a week, and one guinea for the food and the servant’. Angelica was soon to play an important role in the life of Anne's brother Bob, and rather surprisingly it is because of her that we can identify Anne's next publication, as well as a portrait of Anne herself.

One of Angelica's early biographers suggested that Anne had posed for the artist's romantic painting, Female figure weeping over a monumental urn (in memory of General Stanwick's daughter). Etched by Angelica herself in 1767, it must have had a wide circulation as it was engraved for publication as The Pensive Muse by Bartolozzi in 1772, W. W. Ryland in 1774 and John Boydell in 1781. The engraving includes the words of a poem; that the anonymous author was Anne is confirmed by the discovery among her manuscript poems of ‘An inscription on an Urn To the Memory of Miss Susanna Stenwix unfortunately lost on the Irish Seas in 1767’. General John Stanwix, his wife and his only daughter, as well as a near relative and four servants, were all drowned on the passage from Ireland in the ship The Eagle in 1766, not 1767. The incident was widely reported in the newspapers, so there is no reason to suppose that they were personal friends of the Homes.

One of Angelica's first portraits was of Anne Conway (later the sculptor Mrs Damer), a friend of David Hume who was secretary to her father, Field Marshal Henry Seymour Conway, between 1767 and 1769.

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The Life and Poems of Anne Hunter
  • Online ISBN: 9781781388464
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