Although it is little known, the story of Irish artist and soldier Richard St. George is one of the most visually rich stories of the Revolutionary era for someone of his status. In fact, twenty-two works of art that St. George either posed for, personally created, or helped to create are known to survive and have been reunited for the first time from across the globe in the Museum of the American Revolution’s special exhibition Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier.
On Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 6 p.m., Dr. Martin Myrone, Senior Curator of British Art to 1800 at Tate Britain in London, will explore the extraordinary life and art of Richard St. George during a discussion entitled “From Gainsborough to Gothic Nightmares: Art History in Cost of Revolution.” Following the talk, guests are invited to take a closer look at Cost of Revolution from 7–8 p.m. The exhibition is on view through March 17, 2020.
Myrone will discuss how he identified St. George as the sitter for a portrait by Thomas Gainsborough, one of the most renowned British painters of the 18th century. The portrait, which was previously known to art historians only as An Officer of the 4th Regiment of Foot, is on loan to the Museum of the American Revolution from the National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia) and is featured in the special exhibition.
Myrone also will share his findings about St. George’s friendship with the painter Henry Fuseli, one of the leading artists of the Romantic era. Together, St. George and Fuseli staged amateur theatrical productions and discussed St. George’s struggles as a widower and a wounded veteran of the Revolutionary War.
“Richard St. George is one of the most fascinating characters of the 18th century. I’ve been intrigued by this figure and his connections with Thomas Gainsborough and Henry Fuseli for 20 years – but he’s been a well-kept secret,” said Myrone. “Cost of Revolution is a revelation, throwing a spotlight on this extraordinary man, unexpectedly drawing together the histories stories of Britain, Ireland, and America at a revolutionary moment, and uniting major works of art from around the world for the first time. I am thrilled to be part of the program of events accompanying the show and to have the chance to talk about St. George in light of the new research revealed by this project.”