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    Reconstructing the Archangel: Corelli 'ad Vivum Pinxit'Author(s): Peter WallsSource: Early Music, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Nov., 2007), pp. 525-538Published by: Oxford University PressStable URL: 25-04-2016 17:41 UTC

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    Reconstructing the archangel: Corelli 'ad vivum

    pinxit '

    Peter Walls

    JOHN Smith's beautifully executed mezzotint

    of Arcangelo Corelli (illus.1) is inscribed, 'H.

    Howard ad vivum pinxit' and 'I. Smith Anglus

    fecit', phrases that might loosely be translated (and

    expanded) as 'painted from life by H[ugh] Howard'

    and 'engraved by J[ohn] Smith, Englishman'. The

    Howard painting to which this inscription refers

    is familiar to Corelli scholars as one of the items in

    the Oxford Music Faculty collection (illus.2). It has

    been reproduced many times (on the cover and as

    the frontispiece of the Corelli Catalogue raisonne, for

    example')-and, in the 18th century, achieved wide

    circulation in engraved copies by William Sherwin,

    Thomas Cole and Gerard Vandergucht that were

    incorporated as frontispieces to numerous Corelli

    editions (illus.3-5).2 But was this portrait really 'ad

    vivum pinxit'?

    An outline of Hugh Howard's early life is given in

    Horace Walpole's Anecdotes ofPainting in England:

    HUGH HOWARD ... was born in Dublin Feb 7, 1675. His father

    being driven from Ireland by the troubles that followed the

    Revolution, brought the lad to England, who discovering a

    disposition to the arts and Belles Lettres, was sent to travel in

    1697, and on his way to Italy, passed through Holland in the

    train of Thomas earl of Pembroke, one of the plenipotentiar-

    ies at the treaty of Ryswick. Mr Howard proceeded as he had

    intended and having visited France and Italy, returned home

    in October 1700.3

    'Home' initially meant Ireland, but before long

    Howard returned to London where he became rea-

    sonably well known as a portrait painter. In 1714,

    however, he married an heiress, secured an appoint-

    ment in the civil service, and more or less gave up

    painting for good.4

    During this sojourn abroad, Howard spent

    some time in Rome where he studied with Carlo

    Maratti (1625-1713), who has been described as 'the

    last major Italian artist of the classical tradition

    that had originated with Raphael' and as a painter

    whose 'pre-eminence among the artists of his time

    marks the triumph of classicism'.5 Maratti's general

    demeanour in his 1684 chalk-on-paper self-portrait

    (illus.6) is strikingly like that of the Corelli in the

    Howard portrait. Both belong to the same genre (the

    portrait of an artist, or even just the portrait of an

    important person). The sideways glance and flowing

    hair are echoed in numerous drawings and paintings

    of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.6

    Maratti was particularly distinguished as a por-

    trait painter, an occupation that gave him ready

    access to the great and good. His subjects included

    Pope Clement IX and Cardinal Antonio Barberini.

    He also painted a number of the British elite passing

    through Rome as part of their Grand Tour. Grove

    Art Online notes that Maratti's portraits idealize

    the subjects and often incorporate references to the

    sitter's occupation.7

    Maratti is known to have painted Corelli and

    that portrait may have been taken to England by

    Lord Edgcumbe, a keen amateur musician who had

    taken lessons from the great violinist and who may

    also have had access to Maratti's circle (given the

    painter's involvement with other well-bred English

    gentlemen). The painting in question was lent by

    the earls of Mount Edgcumbe for exhibition at the

    Royal Academy in 1876 and again in 1938 but then

    seems to have been destroyed by the bombing of

    Mount Edgcumbe in World War II. The Academy's

    catalogue for the 1938 exhibition describes the paint-

    ing in terms that suggest that it might well have pro-

    vided an exemplar for Howard: 'A long half-length,

    Early Music, Vol. xxxv, No. 4 @ The Author 2007. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

    doi: 10.1093/em/cam089, available online at


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    1 Mezzotint of Arcangelo Corelli by John Smith after Hugh Howard (reproduced by kind permission) (London, National

    Portrait Gallery)


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    2 Hugh Howard, Portrait of Arcangelo Corelli (Oxford Music Faculty Collection, Ecta EKT547) (reproduced by kind per-

    mission of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford)


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    3 Engraving of Arcangelo Corelli by William Sher-

    win after Hugh Howard (reproduced with permission)

    (London, British Library)

    the body full face, the head turned slightly to the left;

    in black dress with white bands. He holds a sheet of


    But back to the Howard portrait. Sir John

    Hawkins gives the following account of its genesis:

    During the residence of Corelli at Rome, besides those of his

    own country, many persons were ambitious of becoming his

    disciples, and learning the practice on the violin from the

    greatest master of that instrument the world had then heard

    of. Of these it is said the late Lord Edgcumbe was one; and

    that the fine mezzotinto print of Corelli by Smith, was scraped

    from a picture painted by Mr Hugh Howard at Rome for that


    The portrait in question would have had to have

    been completed sometime between 1697 and

    Howard's return to Ireland in October 1700.

    Let us consider Howard's preparation for this

    assignment. As a student of Maratti, he had set about

    4 Engraving of Arcangelo Corelli by Thomas Cole after

    Hugh Howard (reproduced with permission) (London,

    British Library)

    copying the works of great painters (the stand-

    ard training for a painter at the time, of course).

    There are Howard copies of paintings by Van Dyck,

    Correggio, Raphael, Guercino, Carracci, Rubens

    and many others. o Among Howard's exercises is

    a black chalk on blue paper drawing of his teacher,

    Carlo Maratti. But this (as Michael Wynne pointed

    out in 1969) was executed, not from life, but from

    another more elaborate Maratti self-portrait (illus.7

    and 8).1 Just when he could quite easily, one would

    have thought, have painted his teacher 'ad vivum',

    Howard was being made to reproduce a painted


    What, then, if Howard's Corelli turned out (pace

    Hawkins) not to have been painted 'ad vivum', but

    to have been copied instead from the Maratti por-

    trait of Corelli? After all, it strains credibility that

    the illustrious Arcangelo Corelli would have agreed

    to sit for a portrait by an obscure Irish dilettante.

    Carlo Maratti, on the other hand, enjoyed fame as a

    painter that paralleled Corelli's as a musician. More-

    over, the two were close personal friends. Maratti


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    5 Engraving of Arcangelo Corelli by Gerard Vander-

    gucht after Hugh Howard (reproduced with permission)

    (London, British Library)

    is said to have given Corelli quite a number of his

    paintings. According to Hawkins, Corelli

    died possessed of a sum of money equal to about six thousand

    pounds sterling. He was a passionate admirer of pictures, and

    lived in an uninterrupted friendship with Carlo Cignani and

    Carlo Maratti: these two eminent painters were rivals for his

    favour, and for a series of years presented him at times with

    pictures, as well of other masters as of their own painting. The

    consequence hereof was, that Corelli became possessed of a

    large and valuable collection of original paintings, all which,

    together with the sum above-mentioned, he bequeathed to

    his dear friend and patron, Cardinal Ottoboni.12

    It is obvio


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