Gothic Roman: Richard St. George Mansergh St. George

Nicksternet's Blog

Gothic Romance and the Quixotic Hero:A Pageant for Henry Fuseli in 1783

Martin Myrone


Fig.1
Wright of Derby
Sir Brooke Boothby  1781
© Tate. Bequeathed by Miss Agnes Ann Best 1925
View in Tate Collection

In the summer of 1783, the Derbyshire gentleman Brooke Boothby, famously pictured as the quintessential man of sensibility by Joseph Wright of Derby (fig.1), organised a Gothic pageant for the painter Henry Fuseli in the woods behind a house belonging to one Colonel St George, somewhere in England. Involving costume, elaborate stage effects, poetry (penned by the struggling Irish writer Elizabeth Ryves) and an all-singing, all-dancing finale, this midnight entertainment was intended to ‘suprize & amuse the great Wizard painter, who had no suspicion of ye scheme’.1 Boothby, Fuseli, and the poet Anna Seward all took key roles in the pageant, dressing up, delivering their lines as supplied by Ryves, taking part in the…

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