Rose and Crown Club

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A Conversation of Virtuosis at the Kings Arms (in Bond Street), Gawen Hamilton, 1734-35. Not his group portrait of the club described in the text, but showing several members, including: Vertue, Dahl, Rysbrack, Kent and Hamilton himself.

The Rose and Crown Club was a club for artists, collectors and connoisseurs of art in early 18th-century London, England.


The Rose and Crown Club "for Eminent Artificers of this Nation"[1] was formed by 1704, when the engraver George Vertue was admitted;[2] while it lasted, the club was among the more important of clubs for artists and connoisseurs.[3] The club was initially "a bawdy assembly of younger artists and cognoscenti, which met weekly"[4] and apparently held its meetings at the Rose and Crown public house.[5] in addition to Vertue, members included Bernard Lens III, Christian Friedrich Zincke, William Hogarth,[6] Peter Tillemans,[7] Marcellus Laroon the Younger and Michael Dahl.

The members of the club were known as the 'Rosacoronians'. An unfinished Hogarthian[8] painting in the Ashmolean Museum attributed to the Scottish painter Gawen Hamilton (another member), An Assembly of Virtuosi, shows a group of fifteen men, including eight who are identified in an etching of the painting by R. Cooper, published by W. B. Tiffin (1829),[9] and it has been suggested that this is a group portrait of the Rosacoronians. The group includes Hamilton himself, Michael Dahl, John Vanderbank, the architect William Kent, and John Michael Rysbrack the sculptor.[10] Vertue listed the painter and engraver Gerhard Bockman as a member in 1724.[11]

The club was well connected with the older-established Virtuosi of St Luke (c. 1689–1743), with which it is sometimes confused, although it was less prestigious.[1]

The Rose and Crown Club remained in existence until 1745 and held its last meeting at the Half-Moon Tavern.[12] Bignamini notes in his George Vertue that

The meetings and annual feasts of the Virtuosi of St Luke and of the Rose and Crown Club had come to a definitive end in 1745.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b Turner, Jane, (ed.), The Dictionary of Art (Oxford University Press, 1996, vol. 19), p. 584; Appleby, John H., 'A new perspective on John Rowley, Virtuoso Master of mechanics and hydraulic engineer' in Annals of Science, vol. 53, (1 January 1996), pp. 1-27
  2. ^ Whitley, William T.. Artists and Their Friends in England, 1700-1799, (The Medici Society, 1928) vol. I p 7.
  3. ^ Richard H. Saunders, John Smibert, John Smibert: Colonial America's First Portrait Painter (1995), p. 43
  4. ^ Turner, Jane, & Jane Shoaf Turner, Encyclopedia of American Art Before 1914 (Macmillan Reference, in Grove Library of World Art, 2000) p. 470
  5. ^ Walpole Society (Great Britain), Volume Six of the Walpole Society (1918), p. 57
  6. ^ Coombs, Katherine, 'Lens [Laus] family (per. c. 1650–1779), artists' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004)
  7. ^ Bottoms, Edward, 'Tillemans, Peter (c.1684–1734), painter and draughtsman' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  8. ^ Long attributed to Hogarth, on the basis of an attached note said to be by Alderman John Boydell, to whom it once belonged, and whose note called it an "early painting by Hogarth" (Whitley 1928: I, p. 70f)
  9. ^ Whitley 1928 I, pp 70f, which notes that, in the description of the painting published in the Literary Gazette (1827), the tablet in the room is said to bear names "of whom we can make out the following:— Hamilton, Dahl, Laroon, Gibbon or Gibson, Rysbrach, Vanderbank, Bridgman and Kent." The celebrated carver Grinling Gibbons died in 1721.
  10. ^ Harrison, Colin, et al., Ashmolean Museum: Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings (Ashmolean Museum, 2004, ISBN 1-85444-188-4), p. 97; Gawen Hamilton also painted a Club of Artists that gathered at the King's Arms in New Bond Street and included some of the same men: Hamilton, Vertue, Dahl, Rysbrack and Kent among the others. (Whitley p. 68)
  11. ^ Grindle, Nicholas, 'Bockman, Gerhard (1686–1773), portrait painter and engraver' in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  12. ^ Whitley 1928, vol. 1, p. 70.
  13. ^ Hargraves, Matthew, Candidates for Fame p. 193, footnote 57
  14. ^ Bignamini, George Vertue, p. 106