Tate Britain's Dr. Martin Myrone explores the life and art of Richard St. George
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Tate Britain's Dr. Martin Myrone explores the life and art of Richard St. George
Cost of Revolution. Photo: MOAR.

LONDON.- 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, 22 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 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.”

Tickets to the event are $20 for general admission, $15 for Museum members, and $10 for students, teachers and museum professionals (with current ID). The talk will be livestreamed at www.amrevmuseum.org/live.

Dr. Martin Myrone is Senior Curator of British Art to 1800 at Tate Britain, and has been Visiting Tutor in the History of Art at the University of York and at the Courtauld Institute of Art. As a specialist in 18th- and 19th-century British art, he has delivered a range of exhibition and display projects at Tate Britain, including Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination (2006), William Blake’s 1809 Exhibition (2009), John Martin: Apocalypse (2011–12), and British Folk Art (2014), all complete with published exhibition catalogues.

Myrone was co-editor of Court Country City: British Art and Architecture 1660-1735 (2016), and his new book on art education and artistic identity at the advent of liberal modernity, 1770-1840, is due to be published by Yale University Press in Fall 2020. His newest exhibits include a major exhibition of the work of William Blake at Tate Britain, London, and a survey of British art 1760-1820, L'âge d'or de la peinture anglaise, at the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris.

Cost of Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier
What can a life tell us about an era? Explore the untold story of Richard St. George, an Irish soldier and artist whose personal trauma and untimely death provide a window into the entangled histories of the American Revolution and the ensuing Irish Revolution of 1798. The exhibition chronicles St. George’s dramatic journey with nearly 100 artifacts, manuscripts, and works of art from Australia, Ireland, England, and the United States, many of which are on display in America for the first time. It also presents one of the largest collections of objects from Ireland’s 18th-century revolutionary history and war for independence ever displayed in Philadelphia. The exhibition is on display through March 17, 2020 and is included with regular Museum admission.

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