Gallery

Gallery: 
Attributed to George Clint, 1770 – 1854
Portrait of Lydia Augusta Allen (nee Watson) 1810-1890 Lyngford House Taunton, Somerset
Lydia Augusta Allen (nee Watson)
oil on canvas
36 x 28 in. (92 x 72 cm.)

Provenance

By descent in the Family

Notes

Lydia was born on 7 October 1810, the daughter of James Watson and Mary Roberts, in Leamington, Leicester, Leicestershire. She married John Roy Allen 1798-1875. Her husband was admitted a pensioner at Pembroke College, Cambridge, on April 17, 1817, and matriculated at Michaelmas that year. He was a "scholar", got his B.A. in 1821 and his M.A. in 1825. On Jan. 17, 1821 he was admitted to the Inner Temple and called to the bar in 1826. He would later be disbarred at his own request (nothing sinister, and not at all uncommon).

Soon after the wedding John Roy started planning a grand house for himself in Taunton - Lyngford House; it wasn't completed until 1846. In the meantime they lived in Wells, then moved to Gatchell House, Trull, Somerset, in the mid-1840s.

In 1844 John Roy's father died and the son was the executor of the huge estate, including Stocklinch Manor which the old man had acquired from Earl Poulett in 1823, along withe advowson of the parish church of Stocklinch Ottersay, as well as the manor house and grounds, and certain demesne lands, farms and hereditaments near Stocklinch (John Roy became entitled to all of this in 1848). John Roy came into a house at Lyme Regis, Dorset, 4,000 pounds and his father's books (and that was just in old Jefferys Allen's will. If a deceased was rich most of his assets never even got hinted at in the will).

John Roy was a JP, and recorder of Taunton, Andover and Bridgwater, 1841-61, and a Taunton Market trustee from 1850. He is mentioned in various histories of Somerset. His will, drawn up on March 3, 1868, was proved on April 26, 1875, to his widow. There were houses all over the place. Lydia Augusta inherited his share in the houses and land at Stocklinch Ottersay and Stocklinch Magdalen, which he'd bought with one of his brothers (this was separate from the manor and advowson and all the rest of his inherited Stocklinch properties). She also got the land John Roy owned by himself - Ploughed Three Acres, Riddick's Mead and The Acre Piece - three parcels in Dunwear in the parish of Bridgwater. Lydia Augusta got all of this, all the money, and a lot more. She also received the annual sum of money from William Speke (a relative of John Hanning Speke, the African explorer), shared by John Roy's brothers Charles and William. After John Roy's death Lydia Augusta continued on at Lyngford House for a while, but by 1881 was staying with a grocer, John Saunders, at the prestigious 1 Edgar Buildings, Walcot, Bath, Somerset.

Children :

Charles Jefferys Watson Allen b: 18 Ma1832 Wells, Somerset Died 5 Dec 1893

William Arthur Allen b: 13 Apr 33 Wells, Somerset Died 27 Oct 1881

James Henry Allen b: 7 Mar 1834 Wells, Somerset Died 8 Aug 1906

John Edward Allen b: 23 Aug 135 Wells, Somerset

Hunter Bird Allen b: 18 Feb 1837 Wells, Somerset Died 8 Apr 1906

Augusta Ethelreda "Ethel" Allen b: abt 1839 Milverton, Somerset Died 2 Oct 189

Artist biography

Clint, George (1770–1854), theatrical genre painter and engraver, was born in London at Brownlow Street, Holborn, on 12 April 1770, the son of Michael Clint, a hairdresser in Lombard Street, and his first wife. The family came from Hexham in Northumberland. Clint received a simple education in Yorkshire. He had several false starts before taking up painting, first as a fishmonger's apprentice, then in an attorney's office, and finally as a house-painter. During this period he married his first wife, the daughter of a small farmer in Berkshire, with whom he had five sons and four daughters. Clint began as a miniature painter with a painting room in Leadenhall Street, London. From Edward Bell, the nephew of John Bell the publisher, a mezzotint engraver best-known for his plates after George MorlandClint learned the technique of mezzotint engraving that he practised throughout his career. Among his early engravings are The Frightened Horse after George Stubbs, and The Death of Nelson after W. Drummond. The precise date when Clint embarked on an artistic career is uncertain, but from the path of his development and the date of his first oil painting exhibited at the Royal Academy (1802) it can probably be assigned to the mid-1790s. From his wife's approach to Sir William Beechey for an opinion on his first attempt at oil painting, a portrait of his wife, a lasting friendship grew between Clint and Beechey. At about this time Clint's friend Samuel Reynolds, the mezzotint engraver, advised him to take up watercolour portraiture. Clint eked out his income by painting copies of prints after Morland and David Teniers, and many copies of The Enraged Bull and The Horse Struck by Lightning by StubbsSir Thomas Lawrence was impressed by Clint's engraving skills and gave Clintseveral of his portraits to engrave. A misunderstanding over the engraving of Lawrence's portrait of Lord Ellenborough which Clint believed had been promised to him but which Lawrence disposed elsewhere led to a rupture in their relationship that damaged Clint's engraving practice.

A significant event in Clint's career was his engraving of G. H. Harlow's theatrical painting The Trial Scene from ‘Henry VIII’ with portraits of the Kemble family, published in January 1819. Harlow's picture was an attempt to raise the status of theatrical genre painting to that enjoyed by history painting. Clint's engraving of this work established his reputation for treating theatrical subjects. Clint practised as a portrait painter throughout his career, but is chiefly remembered for his theatrical scene paintings. He also painted numerous theatrical portraits. His principal patrons were Lord Egremontand the celebrated actor Charles Mathews the elder. Between 1802 and 1817 the Royal Academy catalogues show that he frequently changed his studio address (all in London), suggesting that his commissions during this period were haphazard and uncertain. From 1817 he remained for over twenty years at 83 Gower Street, London. Throughout the 1820s he exhibited at the Royal Academy a number of theatrical scenes with portraiture from a scene in The Clandestine Marriage (1819) to a scene from Love, Law and Physic (1830; both Garrick Club, London). The most ambitious of these works is his large painting of Edmund Kean in A New Way to Pay Old Debts (1820; Garrick Club), which approaches the scale of a history painting, but he did nothing else in the same vein. His works of this period generally derive from ephemeral comedies and farce. Clint was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1821 presumably on the strength of his scene from Lock and Key (Garrick Club), exhibited in the same year.

In the 1830s Clint's theatrical scenes changed to subjects from Shakespearian comedy painted without portraiture and so distanced from the working stage. Typical of those scenes are the three works painted for Lord Egremont exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1833: The Carousing Scene and The Duelling Scene from Twelfth Night, and Falstaff Relating his Gadshill Adventure from 1 Henry IV (Petworth House, Sussex). This change of style was not to a purely literary representation of dramatic subjects since the spatial and compositional restrictions of the stage remained. Clint was a painter of the comic. His only scene from tragedy was from the working stage: Mr. Young in ‘Hamlet’ (V&A), shown at the Royal Academy in 1831. In his colouring Clint was influenced by the work of seventeenth-century Netherlandish masters, including Van Dyck. The largest collection of Clint's theatrical works is in the Garrick Club, London, which owns six of his scene paintings and ten theatrical portraits.

Full membership of the Royal Academy was an important goal for Clint. His failure to achieve this led to his resignation from the academy in 1836. In that year he gave evidence hostile to the Royal Academy to the House of Commons select committee on arts and manufactures. He seems to have had a difficult temperament. While he was not directly involved in current debates on the direction and content of the visual and dramatic arts, Clint's work stands at the intersection of painting and the theatre and is emblematic of those debates.

The poverty Clint knew for most of his life was eased by some property that came to him with his second wife, which helped to augment his income from painting and engraving. He retired to 1 Albert Cottages, Montpellier Road, Peckham, Surrey, and moved near the end of his life to 32 Pembroke Square, Kensington, where he died, a widower, on 16 May 1854. He was buried in Kensal Green cemetery. Clint had a pupil, (Robert) William Buss, who was the author of his obituary in the Art Journal (July 1854). Of his sons, Scipio Clint (1805–1839) became a medallist, and Alfred Clint (1807–1883)became a marine painter.  

  • A. Nisbet  DNB