Joseph Farington (1747-1821) was a professional topographical artist and lived most of his life in London. Through his extensive involvement in the affairs of the Royal Academy, his wide circle of friends, and his membership in several clubs and societies, he touched the life of his time at many points. This diary, which he kept from 1793 until his death, provides a meticulous record of his actions and observations and is an invaluable source for the history of English art and artists. It also constitutes an absorbing record of this period's social, political, and literary developments.
These first two volumes cover the time from July 31, 1793, when he visited Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill, to August 31, 1796. Apart from recording his constant involvement in Academy business, he describes his visit to Valenciennes and his sketching tour for the History of the River Thames. Such matters as the sale of part of Sir Joshua Reynolds's collection, the controversies over the Shakespeare forgeries are set down against the background of the French Revolution and the war, and of political turbulence at home. The diary is now for the first time published in full. The unannotated text will be published in successive volumes with a full index and a final volume, A Companion to The Farington Diary, to follow. Ill.