A versatile artist influenced by the French Rococo style, he achieved some note during the 1740s through decorative paintings executed for the supper boxes at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in London. Hayman was also a successful portraitist and history painter.
Combining some of these, he contributed 31 pictures to a 1744 edition of Shakespeare's plays by Sir Thomas Hanmer, and later portrayed many leading contemporary actors in Shakespearean roles, including David Garrick as Richard III (1760). He also illustrated Pamela, a novel by Samuel Richardson, Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained, Tobias Smollett's translation of Don Quixote, and other well-known works. In the 1760s Hayman was commissioned by Jonathan Tyers, proprietor of Vauxhall Gardens and the Denbies estate, to paint a series of large-scale history paintings depicting British victories in the Seven Years' War.
The play scene from Hamlet, c. 1745
Print, 1742, V&A Museum no. 26614:53
Lord Clive meeting with Mir Jafar at the Battle of Plassey in 1757
- Stephen, Leslie; Lee, Sidney, eds. (1891). . Dictionary of National Biography. 25. London: Smith, Elder & Co. pp. 296–7.
- Laurent Turcot. The Surrender of Montreal to General Amherst de Francis Hayman et l’identité impériale britannique Mens : revue d'histoire intellectuelle et culturelle, Volume 12, numéro 1, automne 2011, p. 91-135.
- Peter Matthews, Who's Buried Where in London, p.33.
- 66 artworks by or after Francis Hayman at the Art UK site
- Francis Hayman online (ArtCyclopedia)
- Portrait of Hayman by Joshua Reynolds (Philip Mould Fine Paintings)
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