|Francis Hayman RA (1708-1776) and Joshua Reynolds were both born in Devonshire and had been pupils of the fashionable portrait painter Thomas Hudson. By the 1740s Hayman was painting portraits and conversation pieces as well as decorating the supper boxes of the pleasure gardens at Vauxhall Gardens with large paintings of scenes |
from contemporary novels and Shakespeare's plays. Hayman also did much to promote English art by his involvement in the St. Martin's Lane Academy and as President of the Society of Artists. The Academy recognized his services by appointing him as its first Librarian in 1770.
Reynolds and Hayman knew each other well and although unfinished, this is a warmly observed portrait of a successful artist of a slightly older generation who was well-known as an easy-going, clubbable character and good committee-man.