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these visits and his portrait technique. Afirst sitting was used to dead-colour thecanvas and structure the portrait,followed by several sittings for the face,figure and attitude. Without the sitter heworked on drapery and background,before the final sitting to complete theface. Beach carried out all theprocesses himself, usually working on atleast three portraits concurrently, eachtaking between 10 and 17 days tocomplete. Travelling between Dorsethouses, his punishing schedule fromJuly to December probably resulted inmore than 1,000 portraits painted over a40-year career. His Dorset-basedconnections sustained commissionsfrom potentially lucrative clients andsometimes functioned as a form ofcorporate portraiture. Beach paintedmembers of several Dorset hunts; his last major project during the 1790sinvolved 13 officers of the DorsetPORTRAIT OF A COUNTY32NADFAS REVIEW / WINTER 2010www.nadfas.org.ukVolunteer Rangers separately sitting tohim for a series of portraitscommissioned by his early patron,Joseph Damer. Several of these featurein the exhibition, including Damer's son,the founding commander, Lord Milton.This important group demonstrates theclose links between patron, artist and aparticular patronage circle, for which thediary has been particularly illuminating. The exhibition recognises the place ofportrait copies, acknowledging theirsignificance to families placing theiremphasis on the image portrayed ratherthan the artist. Ranelagh Barrett's copyof Pompeo Batoni's 1749 head andshoulders portrait of the landowner andphilanthropist Edward Digby 6th LordDigby provides a useful example.Digby's death aged 27 resulted inBarrett's early copy of Edward Digby'slast known image by Batoni -one ofseveral versions painted for the grievingAbove left:SirPeter Thompson(1698-1779),Thomas FryeAbove right:Thomas Rackettthe Younger(1756-1840),George Romney Opposite page:Mr ThomasCoombes ofDorsetshire,aged 108,William HogarthDigby and Fox-Strangways families.Barrett's copy will hang next to that ofEnoch Seeman's mother CharlotteDigby, sister of Stephen Fox, and his fivebrothers, all painted by Joshua Reynoldsin the early 1760s. This Digby group neatlydemonstrates the career choices of theupper classes: as Grand Tourist,landowner, diplomat, court official, admiral,colonel and cleric. Beach's diary revealshe painted copies of his own work. A change of pace reveals sevenportraits of merchants from Poole, oneof Britain's busiest ports. Their wealth,derived from cod fishing and fur tradingwith Newfoundland, enabled them toengage in the unscrupulous world oflocal politicking. Among the 'merchantprinces', Thomas Frye's unpublishedportrait of rich merchant Sir PeterThompson c.1745(Poole Museum)isparticularly fine. An unusual figure,Thompson was not only a trader inImages: © DNH&AS; Poole Museum; Private Collection

www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / WINTER201033PORTRAIT OF A COUNTYLondon, Poole and Hamburg, but animportant local antiquarian and RoyalSociety member. A curious portrait of1765, by little-known portraitist JohnHall, shows local entrepreneur ThomasHyde, supplier of ball clay to JosiahWedgwood. The Devis-like portrait ofRobert Henning c.1740 pointing towardshis formal garden of lush vines,demonstrates these mercantile aspirations. A highlight of the exhibition powerfullycontrasting with wealthy patricians,gentry and merchants, is the little knownportrait of Dorset boatman ThomasCoombes, aged 108, painted by WilliamHogarth in 1742. Married to JaneThornhill, Hogarth probably visited theDorset home of his father-in-law thedecorative painter Sir James Thornhill.Thomas Coombes is one of the fewportraits to show a working-man and,unusually, was painted from choice ratherthan for a commission. Other discoveriesinclude a pair of pastel portraits of theDuke and Duchess of Gloucester byHugh Douglas Hamilton and an undatedmarble portrait bust of Peter Beckford bya British sculptor working in Rome,possibly Christopher Hewetson. There will be an accompanying fullyillustrated catalogue written by GwenYarker and supported by the PaulMellon Centre for British Studies in Art,with a foreword written by the Duchessof Cornwall. The exhibition andcatalogue are structured around theReverend John Hutchins's 1774 Historyand Antiquities of the County of Dorset-an early account of an English countywritten during the 18th century. So theportraits are not ordered chronologically,or by artist, but by sitter and groupedalong social lines, from the King andpowerful landowners to the Poolemerchants, scientists, antiquarians,painters and architects. Manycontributed to Hutchins's survey, byparish, of the history, people,topography and customs of the county,literally defining Dorset. This closegeographical context provides thenarrative for the portraits of landowners,the physicians, soldiers, sailors, artists,architects, builders, lawyers, wives anddaughters revealed in Georgian Faces;Portrait of a County. Gwen Yarker is the curator of GeorgianFaces: Portrait of a County, whichshows at the Dorset County Museum,Dorchester, from 15 January-30 April,2011. www.dorsetcountymuseum.org