Hodges, Charles Howard (DNB00)

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HODGES, CHARLES HOWARD (1764–1837), portrait-painter and mezzotint-engraver, was born in London in 1764. His earlier years were spent in mezzotint-engraving, in which art he attained the highest excellence. He may have been a pupil of John Raphael Smith [q. v.], as that engraver's name appears on some of his earlier engravings, such as ‘Mrs. Musters as Hebe’ (1785), ‘Guardian Angels’ (1786), and others after Sir Joshua Reynolds. He engraved after Reynolds portraits of Lavinia, Lady Spencer, Lady Dashwood and child, Mary Robinson, Charles, duke of Rutland, Joshua Sharpe, the Rev. Thomas Warton, and others; after Romney, portraits of Admiral Arbuthnot, James Mingay, James Adair, Thomas Raikes, Sir James Stuart, and others; after Hoppner, portraits of Frederick, duke of York (full length), William, duke of Clarence (full length), and George IV as prince regent; after C. G. Stuart a series of portraits of notable personages in Ireland; and other portraits after Alefounder, Opie, Heins, Beechey, Sharples, Mather Brown, and others, including a portrait of William Wilberforce after Rising. Among the subject-pictures engraved by him were ‘The Shipbuilder and his Wife’ after Rembrandt, ‘The Entombment’ after Parmigiano, ‘Silenus’ after Rubens, ‘The Crucifixion’ after Vandyck, ‘Ugolino’ and ‘The Infant Hercules’ after Reynolds, and others after G. Metsu, B. Strozzi, F. Wheatley, B. West, and R. M. Paye. In 1788 Hodges being in pecuniary difficulties accompanied W. Humphreys, the print-dealer, to Amsterdam, and continued for many years to act as agent for the transmission of prints, copperplates, &c., especially rare portraits, to England. He did not settle there at once, as he continued to publish engravings in England, such as ‘Sir Abraham Hume,’ after Reynolds, dated from 17 Lambeth Row in 1791. By 1794, however, he was settled in Amsterdam, and spent the remainder of his life there or at the Hague. He devoted most of his time in Holland to portrait-painting in crayon, in which he was very successful, and gained the highest esteem. There are several portraits by him in the Ryksmuseum at Amsterdam, including Louis Napoleon, king of Holland, William I, king of the Netherlands, his own portrait, and that of his daughter. Hodges continued to engrave in mezzotint from the portraits painted by himself, and engraved among others Napoleon as emperor, and the grand pensionary Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck. The latter engraving, from the skilful treatment of the dress and accessories, is considered one of the best examples of mezzotint-engraving. When the kingdom of the Netherlands was formed, Hodges was appointed one of the commissioners sent to Paris to recover the pictures removed by Napoleon. He died in Amsterdam on 24 July 1837. Hodges married in 1784, at St. George's, Hanover Square, Miss Margaret Harmar. His son, J. N. Hodges, engraved a few plates himself, and became a print-dealer in Amsterdam. A daughter, Emma Jane, on her death in 1868, bequeathed some portraits by her father to the Ryksmuseum. A small portrait of Hodges at the age of twenty-eight, drawn by E. Bell, is in Anderdon's ‘Collectanea Biographica’ in the print-room, British Museum. S. W. Reynolds the elder [q. v.] was his pupil.

[Immerzeel's Levens en Werken der Hollandsche Kunstschilders, &c.; Kramm's continuation to the same; Chaloner Smith's British Mezzotinto Portraits; Caulfield's Calcographiana; Dodd's manuscript History of English Engravers (Brit. Mus. Addit. MSS. 33401); Bredius's Catalogue of the Ryksmuseum, Amsterdam.]

L. C.