ABSTRACT

In 1786 Romney became central to one of the most elaborate schemes of patronage in the history of British art: John Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery. Boydell (1719–1804) was an engraver and print publisher who had become successful by exploiting the rising domestic market for cheap engravings: his catalogue at around this time listed more than four thousand prints. 1 One of his most successful ventures was Woollett’s engraving after West’s Death of General Wolfe. Boydell had dealt in engravings after Romney from as far back as 1770, when he had published Dunkarton’s Two Sisters Contemplating Mortality.