Hayman, Francis (DNB00)
|←Hayls, John||Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 25
HAYMAN, FRANCIS (1708–1776), painter, born at Exeter in 1708 of a respectable family, received his first education in art under Robert Brown, a portrait-painter of Exeter. Coming to London when young, he worked with success as scene-painter for Fleetwood, the proprietor of Drury Lane Theatre, and gained a general acquaintance with the theatrical world. He also obtained reputation as a designer by his illustrations to Sir Thomas Hanmer's edition of Shakespeare's plays, published in 1744–6. These were engraved by Gravelot [q. v.], between whose style and Hayman's there was some resemblance. Hayman also designed illustrations for Congreve's poems; for Smollett's edition of ‘Don Quixote’ (the original drawings for which are in the print room at the British Museum); for Bishop Newton's edition of Milton's poems, published in 1749–52; for E. Moore's ‘Fables for the Female Sex,’ 1744; and for the ‘Spectator,’ 1747. In 1751–1752 Hayman was employed, with N. Blakey [q. v.], by Messrs. Knapton & Dodsley to execute the first series of historical prints designed by Englishmen. Hayman's works were ‘Caractacus,’ ‘The Conversion of the Britons to Christianity,’ and ‘The Battle of Hastings;’ they were engraved by C. Grignion [q. v.], S. F. Ravenet, and others, and a set of smaller engravings was inserted in Smollett's ‘History of England.’ Hayman is best known for the series of pictures which he painted for Jonathan Tyers to ornament the alcoves at Vauxhall. They depict scenes from contemporary life and fashion, and the numerous engravings from them form a valuable record of the habits and costumes of the time. Hogarth shared in this work, and Hayman's paintings seem to have been frequently mistaken for Hogarth's, which they approach in excellence (for a list of the pictures at Vauxhall see Taylor, Life and Time of Sir Joshua Reynolds, i. 327–31). Good instances of Hayman's work in this line are the two well-known pictures of the game of cricket in the possession of the Marylebone Cricket Club. Hayman was regarded as the first historical painter of the time, but was also well known as a painter of portraits, frequently in groups and conversation pieces, or introduced into landscapes and interiors with pleasing effects. A good example is the picture of himself in his studio painting a portrait of Sir Robert Walpole, which is now in the National Portrait Gallery. Some of his portraits have been engraved, including John, lord Perceval, by J. Faber, jun., and Dr. Barrowby, by J. S. Müller. Hayman, noted for his straightforwardness, rough manners, and convivial disposition, was the boon companion of Hogarth, Garrick (with whom he often corresponded), Quin, Woodward, and others. He was a member of Slaughter's, the Beefsteak, and other clubs, and painted many portraits of his friends. When Gainsborough left Gravelot's studio, he studied for some time under Hayman, who is accused of leading him into convivial habits rather than teaching him art; Hayman, however, was too thorough an artist for Gainsborough not to have acquired some permanent benefit from his instruction.
In the history of English art Hayman occupies an important place as one of the founders of the Royal Academy. In 1745 Hayman, following an example set by Hogarth, presented to the Foundling Hospital ‘Moses striking the Rock.’ On 31 Dec. 1746 he and the other artists who had made similar gifts were elected governors of the hospital, and instituted an annual dinner on the anniversary of the landing of William III to celebrate the union of liberty and the arts. These meetings drew public attention to this first collection of British works of art. Under the chairmanship of Hayman a committee carried out a design for a public exhibition of the works of living British artists, which took place in 1760 in the great room of the Society of Arts in the Strand. To this exhibition Hayman contributed a picture of Garrick in the character of Richard III. In 1761 the artists split into two bodies. Hayman seceded with the best-known artists, who formed the Society of Artists of Great Britain, holding an exhibition in Spring Gardens, to which Hayman sent a picture of ‘Sir John Falstaff raising Recruits.’ That society was in 1765 incorporated by charter, with G. Lambert [q. v.] as president and Hayman as vice-president. In 1766 Hayman succeeded Lambert as president. In 1768 further dissensions arose, and Hayman was replaced as president by Kirby. A fresh secession on the part of Hayman and his friends took place, which resulted in the constitution by royal charter on 10 Dec. 1768 of the Royal Academy of Arts of London. Hayman was one of the original forty academicians, and contributed two scenes from ‘Don Quixote’ to their first exhibition in 1769. He was elected one of the visitors, and from 1771 till his death held the office of librarian. He exhibited for the last time in 1772. Hayman suffered greatly from the gout, and died at his residence in Dean Street, Soho, on 2 Feb. 1776. He married the widow of his old friend and patron, Fleetwood, and left one daughter. Besides the picture in the National Portrait Gallery, Hayman's portrait was drawn by P. Falconet [q. v.] and engraved by B. Reading. Another drawing of himself was engraved by C. Grignion, and he is prominent in Zoffany's picture of the royal academicians. He etched a few plates. His ‘The Five Senses,’ a set of ladies' portraits, was engraved by Houston, and two pictures, ‘The Bad Man’ and ‘The Good Man at the Hour of Death,’ by T. Chambars.
[Edwards's Anecdotes; Sandby's Royal Academy; Leslie and Taylor's Sir Joshua Reynolds; Seguier's Dict. of Painters; Pye's Patronage of British Art; J. T. Smith's Nollekens and his Times; E. Hardcastle's Somerset House Gazette, i. 77.]