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Chronology of Romney's Life


December 26, born at Beckside near Dalton in Furness, Lancashire.


Apprenticed to Christopher Steele for four years.


October 14, marries Mary Abbot, the daughter of his landlady.


Leaves Steele after two years of working with the artist in York, Lancaster, and Kendal. Becomes his own master. April 6, birth of his son, John Romney, who would become his father's biographer.


Disposes of twenty paintings by lottery at the Kendal Town Hall. Departs for London on March 14.


First exhibits at the Free Society of Artists, which awards him twenty five guineas for his The death of General Wolfe. Continues to place works on exhibition at the Free Society until 1769.


Leaves in September, with his friend Thomas Greene, for a six week trip to Paris where he meets Joseph Vernet.


Receives a 50 guinea award from the Free Society for his The death of King Edmund. Visits family in the North. Romney's wife had, by this time, left Kendal to live with and look after Romney's father at Dalton. Spends much of his time while in the North painting portraits in Lancaster.


Again visits family and paints portraits in the North.


Exhibits for the last time at the Free Society.


His first exhibition at the Society of Artists (Mirth and Melancholy ).


Exhibits two portraits at the Society of Artists. Romney's last participation in regular public exhibitions.


March 20, departs for Rome with the painter Ozias Humphry; travels via Paris, Lyons, ad the south of France to Nice and Menton. From Menton, travels to Genoa and Leghorn, continuing on to Pisa, Florence, and Siena. Arrives in Rome on June 18.


Leaves Rome in earl January, spending time in various other Italian cities (Florence, Bologna, Ferrara, Venice, Parma) as well as Lyon and Paris, before arriving back in London on July 1. In late November, Romney takes over the lease on Francis Cotes's large house in Cavendish Square.


Meets the poet William Hayley, who becomes Romney's closest friend. Hayley initiates his yearly invitations to Romney to spend his summer holidays with him at Eartham, near the south coast. Annual visits occur for the next twenty years.


Romney joins other friends in forming the eight-member Unincreasables Club, which included the Shakespearean actor John Henderson.


Publication of Hayley's Poetical epistle to an eminent painter , addressed to Romney.


Henderson sits for Romney in October and December.


Emma Hart begins to sit regularly for Romney; does so until her departure for Naples in 1786.


Romney attends a dinner at the home of Josiah Boydell where the idea of a Shakespeare Gallery is discussed; by some accounts, it is initially proposed by Romney himself.


Romney's Tempest painting completed and sent to the Boydell Gallery in Pall Mall. At the end of July, Romney takes a six-week trip to France with Hayley and Thomas Carwardine. Death of the philanthropist John Howard stimulated Romney's interest in illustrating Howard's prison visits.


In September, Emma Hart becomes Lady Hamilton upon her marriage to Sir William. Emma sits a number of times for Romney while in London.


Romney's The infant Shakespeare attended by Nature and the Passions and Cassandra Raving are sent to the Boydell Gallery. Commissions John Flaxman to buy antique casts for him in Rome.


Romney's health begins to give way; he becomes increasingly melancholic.


Suffers the first of a series of strokes.


Visits the North of England with his son John during the summer. Suffers a slight stroke in the winter, experiences increasing debility.


Returns to the North for good where he is nursed by his wife.


November 15, Romney dies in Kendal.



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