Reference number5282
TitleDiary of John Moyer Heathcote
DescriptionBookseller's description: 1832 to 1833 - Diary [17 Nov. 1832-20 Nov. 1833], quarter-lea., marbled bds. Printed title "The Student’s Journal", a week to each two pages, hinge strain, wear and tear, but complete, closely written.Most entries give details of his active social life which often involved staying away from his home in Conington, Huntingdonshire - including sporting activities (riding, Hunting, shooting), visits to De Wint’s studio (eg 8 Dec. 1832), making a sketch (3 May 1833 - "Sketched The Trial of Effie Deans by ye side of a ditch", 29 May 1833), and mixing with the aristocracy (even Mrs Norton singing a comic song "without embarrassment", 14 April 1833). But he also reveals himself as a voracious, reflective and intelligent reader, particularly of literature, history, biography, drama, poetry, religion, political economy, including newspapers, contemporary and foreign publications, on which he comments extensively. He is not averse to translating from the classics; and attends the theatre (seeing Kean and Macready in "Othello", for example, p.10) He takes a great interest in questions of the day (agriculture, property tax, slavery, reform, Ireland, etc, etc). He lists the names and addresses of friends and acquaintances on front loose endpapers. At the back of the diary are miscellaneous notes including questions which have occurred to him on a wide range of subjects from philosophy ("Do necessity & circumstances make men what they are?") to historical ("What did Phoenicia for mankind"), etc, etc. His interest in art, as expressed by his sketching and visit to De Wint’s studio, receives far greater attention in a section towards the end of the diary:Heathcote/De Wint Painting section 1832 to 1833 The section on 'Painting' covers pp.108-119, with the exception of p.109, which is headed 'Politics'. The entries on these eleven pages date from between 23 November 1832 and 20 November 1833, with dated entries giving accounts of Heathcote's artistic activities during this period, including comments on individual works, visits to art exhibitions and to the studio of Peter De Wint, of whom Heathcote was a pupil and patron (see Iola A. Williams, Early English Water-Colours, 1952). The diary reveals the response of an unusually sophisticated and sensitive artistic sensibility. For example, on 3 December 1832: 'Claude's Sea Port[.] Variety of wind - coming on. rolling. heaving of ye waves realizing of ye fog. difft. feeling in difft. parts of ye picture - ye color of ye 2d wave & ye 3d. ye Sharp lights next ye sky of ye dark Pillars. The genl glow - | Titians ye light airy flutter of Ariadnes mantle - ye flying feeling of ye fig. ye richness of ye color - ye carelessness of ye Landscape'. Several entries relate to visits to De Wint's studio, with his artistic opinion apparently reported. For example, on 8 December 1832: 'Dewints Studio. Infinite variety of nature for you cannot find 2 Sketches alike - make shapes accidental & pick them out afterwards - complete as you go on or you alter your intention. The Completing more done by blotting down immaterial accidentation interfering lights - & taking off or leaving sharp small lights exactly in ye right place - | Not necessary to teach Painting as a Branch of Education. it is wise. it must be undertaken as a pursuit & pursued for ye Love of itself - Better know nothing than previously to have received bd. education -'. And on 12 December 1832: 'Dewints Studio - Shee ye President a man who wrote Rhymes on Art years ago has a sort of Irish Eloquence & can speak. is a Tolerable Classic & on these grounds has a reputation for art of wch. he knows nothing - | It is easily seen how much a man knows by taking him to an Exhibition & seeing whether he admires ye best pictures | In criticism many like to find merit in everything - But in art we must be fastidious we cannot have humility | Il y en a des choses, dont la mediocrite est insupportable. Peinture &c.'. Notes are made on De Wint's works in progress ('Whitby fine Line o [Attributes: Soft Cover]
[Bookseller: Richard Ford]
Date17 Nov 1832 - 20 Nov 1833
CreatorNameJohn Moyer Heathcote
RepositoryHuntingdonshire Archives

Show related Persons records.

F/0002Heathcote; family; of Conington Castle1652-Present
P/0008Heathcote; John Moyer (1800-1892); of Conington Castle1800-1892
Add to My Items