Ozias Humphry, RA (British, 1742-1810) The actress, Clara Hayward (active 1770-1772), seated and wearing dark blue dress, white chemise and fichu, her powdered wig curled in rolls and upswept
Lot 66Y
Ozias Humphry, RA
(British, 1742-1810)
The actress, Clara Hayward (active 1770-1772), seated and wearing dark blue dress, white chemise and fichu, her powdered wig curled in rolls and upswept
Sold for £7,500 (US$ 12,036) inc. premium

Lot Details
Ozias Humphry, RA (British, 1742-1810)
The actress, Clara Hayward (active 1770-1772), seated and wearing dark blue dress, white chemise and fichu, her powdered wig curled in rolls and upswept.
Signed on the reverse and dated Ozias Humphry/ pinxt 1772/ Miss Clarissa Hayward, gold frame with border of pearls to the obverse, the reverse engraved Miss Clarissa Hayward/ Ozias Humphry/ pinxit 1772.
Oval, 102mm (4in) high
Provenance: Bonhams, London, 22 March 1994, lot 200.

Footnotes

  • The present lot is possibly the same portrait miniature which sold at Christie's on 29 June 1810 (lot 35), as part of the remaining works by the late Ozias Humphry. The sitter was described as 'Miss Clarina Hayward in the Fair Penitent'.

    Biographical information for Clara or 'Clarissa' Hayward is scarce and her iconography is extremely limited. The 1772 edition of 'Theatrical Biography' reported that she came from obscure and humble origins. Her mother is said to have been an oyster vendor according to the February 1776 edition of 'Town and Country Magazine'. In her youth, Hayward attracted the attention of a young guards officer who taught her to read and it was through literature that she fell in love with the stage. Hayward later met Samuel Foote (1720-1777) through a mutual friend and gained her first stage appearance at his theatre at the Haymarket on 9 July 1770. She played Calista in 'The Fair Penitent' and reprised this role for her debut at Drury Lane on 27 October 1770 (K. Burnim, P. Highfill and E. Langhans, A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel In London 1660-1800, 1982, vol VII, pp.220-221). Miss Hayward went on to appear in a number of plays with varying success but after March 1772 her name ceases to appear on the Drury Lane playbills.

    By the time she retired from acting, Hayward had become a mistress of Evelyn Meadows (d.1826), a nephew by marriage of Elizabeth Chudleigh, Duchess of Kingston (1720-1788) who accused his aunt of bigamy with a view to claiming the estates she had inherited from her late husband.

    Clara Hayward is said to have sat for Sir Thomas Gainsborough and she appears as a character in 'The Gainsborough Girls', a play of 1951 by Cecil Beaton, later re-titled, 'Landscape with Figures'.
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