Alderman John Boydell (1719–1804) commissioned paintings of scenes from Shakespeare by the leading British artists of the day, including Henry Fuseli, William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds, George Romney, Robert Smirke, Richard Westall, and Francis Wheatley. A gallery for their exhibition was opened in Pall Mall, London, in 1789. About 170 paintings were completed, and many of them engraved, but Boydell had money troubles, and the collection was sold by auction in 1805. There is an account of the venture in W. M. Merchant'sShakespeare and the Artist1959), and a more recent study is The Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, edited by Walter Pape and Frederick Burwick1996).
Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.