The Diary of Joseph Farington:
Volume 9, January 1808 - June 1809; Volume 10, July 1809 - December 1810

Kathryn Cave, Joseph Farington

Publicaton Date
September 1982
Standard Number
Yale University Press
653 pages, volumes 9 & 10 of 16.

Joseph Farington (1747-1821) was a professional topographical artist who lived most of his life in London.  Through his extensive involvement in the affairs of the Royal Academy, his wide circle of friends, and his membership in several clubs and societies, he touched the life of his times at many points.  His diary, now for the first time being published in full, is an invaluable source for the history of English art and artists.

The ninth and tenth volumes of the diary cover the years from January 1808 up to December 1810. Among the public events that preoccupy Joseph Farington are the wars in Europe and South America and the spectacular scandal that erupted in 1809 over Duke of York’s association with Mary Anne Clark.

This period finds Farington embarking on extended tours—one to the north of England and two to the West Country—making sketches to illustrate the survey of Britain, Britannica Depicta, compiled by his friends Samuel and Daniel Lysons. Farington’s association with this and other projects for the publishers Cadell and Davies involves him in negotiations with many engravers, among them Joseph Landseer, James Heath, and Samuel Middiman.

Within the Royal Academy (to which Landseer is pressing that a number of engravers be admitted) feelings run high over the lecture by John Soane criticizing the architecture of Covent Garden Theatre, which was the work of Robert Smirke, the son of Farington’s oldest friends. At the end of 1810 Farington is occupied with assessing Robert Smirke’s prospects at the coming election of academicians. In common with many others in the diarist’s wide circle of acquaintances, Thomas Lawrence and John Constable continue to seek Farington’s advice on professional and practical affairs.