Held jointly with The Friends of St Anne’s, this talk will be at St Anne’s Church, Kew, where the artist Johan Zoffany (1733–1810) is buried.
There is a big tomb at the east end of the graveyard marking the grave of John Zoffany (1733-1810), a painter who lived in Strand on the Green, and who seems to have enjoyed a somewhat stormy relationship with St Anne’s. An immigrant, born Johan Zoffanij, he first made his name as a theatrical painter, patronised by Garrick; he then made a fortune out of his portraits of the royal family. However, his lifestyle was so extravagant that he had to go off to India to make himself another fortune. One of his more famous pictures there, somewhat surprisingly, was a Last Supper, and on his return George III suggested that he paint another one for St Anne’s.
His choice of models was characteristically eccentric. Most of the disciples were appropriately local fishermen—all of whom would be known from then on by their apostolic names!—but he cast himself as St Peter, his own young wife as St John, and a prominent member of St Anne’s Vestry—a lawyer with whom he had quarrelled over making his will— as Judas Iscariot. (He had played a similar trick in his Indian painting.) St Anne’s refused to pay unless he agreed to repaint the figure; so Zoffany gave the painting to St George’s, Brentford. It can now be seen in St Paul’s, also in Brentford.
Frances Hughes is a freelance lecturer in Art & Theatre History for the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS), the National Trust and the National Portrait Gallery and tour guide at the Garrick Club. She is Chairman of the Irving Society and Chairman of the Henry Irving Foundation and from 1990 to 2010 was Hon. Sec of the Shakespeare Reading Society (founded in 1875). She spent 38 years in education (including 18 as a headteacher).
The cost for non-members is £4.00 but members of The Friends of St Anne’s and The Richmond Local History Society can attend for free.