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The Mathews as Patrons

G. E. Bentley, Jr.

Harriet Mathew and her husband, the Reverend Anthony Stephen Mathew, are well known as patrons of William Blake and John Flaxman. As J. T. Smith wrote, about 1784 the house of “Mrs. Mathew, … No. 27, in Rathbone-place, was then frequented by most of the literary and talented people of the day,” and Flaxman’s sister-in-law Maria Denman wrote that A. S. Mathew’s wife “was the intimate associate of Mrs. Montague, Mrs. Barbauld, Mrs. Chapone, Mrs. Brooke, &c.” However, a search over fifty years revealed no clear reference to A. S. Mathew or to his wife in the records of Anna Letitia Barbauld, James Boswell, Fanny Burney, Mrs. Chapone, Benjamin Robert Haydon, Angelica Kauffman, Mrs. Montagu, George Romney, Hester Thrale, or Horace Walpole, many of them notorious gossips.

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