- Museum number
A Concert at Montagu House (?), later the British Museum; interior of a lofty room, furnished with large decorative landscapes, with a company of ladies and gentlemen, and a group of musicians. 1736
Pen and ink, with grey wash, over graphite, squared
- Production date
Height: 453 millimetres
Width: 334 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- In Walpole's possession, this drawing was apparently displayed in the passage by the North Bed Chamber at Strawberry Hill. Although described simply as 'a concert' in his guide to his villa, Walpole also thought the drawing had a more specific subject, as evidenced by the inscription added in his hand identifying the key personages; his labelling as Duke of Montagu the man Laroon would have known as the Earl of Cardigan gives his annotation a terminus post quem of 1766, the year in which the Earl was elevated to that Dukedom, and perhaps because of the amount of time that had passed, as well as Edward Croft-Murray's scepticism about the compatibility of Laroon's portraits with known likenesses of the Cardigans, Walpole's identifications should only be accepted with some caution - however tempting it may be given the drawing's current location, as it would imply that Laroon's setting is Montagu House, the British Museum's first home. Indeed, faced with these and other identifications (for example the harpsichordist with Heidegger), Croft-Murray was inclined to argue for restraint before hunting for portraits, thinking that this and other later conversation pieces by Laroon are intentionally generalised representations of London society - more so than some of the artist's earlier works.
Lit.: H. Walpole, 'A Description of the Villa of Horace Walpole, youngest son of Sir Robert Walpole Earl of Orford, at Strawberry-Hill, near Twickenham. With an inventory of the furniture, pictures, curiosities, &c', Strawberry Hill, 1774, p. 156; R. Davies, 'Chats on Old English Drawings', London, 1923, p. 76; R. Edwards, 'The Conversation Pictures of Marcellus Laroon (1679-1772)', Apollo, October 1935, p. 193; R. Raines, 'Marcellus Laroon: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings arranged by the Paul Mellon Foundation for British Art', exh. cat., Aldeburgh and The Tate Gallery, London, 1967, no. 40.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1934 BM, Exhibition of English Art, no.282
1964 Dec-May, BM, Hogarth, no.51
1967 June, Aldeburgh Festival, 'Marcellus Laroon', no.40
1967 July, London, Tate Gallery, 'Marcellus Laroon', no.40
1985/6 Nov-Feb, London, NPG, 'Handel Tercentenary Exhibition' (no cat.)
1987/8 Nov-Feb, London, Orleans House, Music Hath Charms, no. 72
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- In the Walpole sale described as 'A drawing of a Concert, by Captain Laroon'.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number