Selling Art in Georgian London:
Rise of Arthur Pond

Louise Lippincott

Publicaton Date
May 1983
Standard Number
Yale University Press
256 pages

Arthur Pond was a portrait painter, connoisseur, dealer, and printseller in London, and probably Hogarth’s most successful competitor in shaping the tastes of the English art-buying public. This lively and original book, based on Pond’s papers and account journals, reconstructs his working environment and methods at a time when the art world was shifting from reliance on the patronage of the ‘great’ to a modern commercial system.

The son of a surgeon, and a pupil of John Vanderbank, Pond completed his education by travelling in Italy where he met the first of his important patrons, the Dilettanti. His exploitation of this and other prestigious clubs and societies, his cultivation of fashionable women, and his use of newspaper advertising ensured his eventual success with the art-buying public. His greatest impact resulted from his use of a scientific classification system for the attribution of works of art, which brought intellectual order to art appreciation and credibility to the commerce in old master paintings and drawings. Pond formed the tastes and the collections of some of the century’s most famous connoisseurs. His printselling developed the commercial trade and audiences that would support later generations of British painters.

Louise Lippincott has written a pioneering analysis of the crucial period when English art evolved to a fully developed native school. Her work will significantly alter the conventional view of eighteenth-century high culture.