James McArdell after Thomas Jenkins.
Benjamin Hallet. A Child not five years old who under the tuition of Mr. Oswald performed on the flute at Drury Lane Theatre anno 1748 for 50 nights with extraordinary skill & applause, and in the following year was able to play his part in any concert on the violincello.
19 x 24".
Benjamin Hallet possessed a precocious musical talent which took him onto the stage as an infant and thrilled audiences with his performance upon the cello. He is depicted here dressed in skirts at an age when most boys would have graduated to breeches. As such this performance was one of many "spectacles" that graced the London stage in Georgian England with acts as varied as performing animals and tightrope walkers. James McArdell was born in Dublin around the year 1729 and started work as a pupil of John Brooks with whom he came to London at the end of the 1740’s. Soon after this he started to work on his own and set himself up as an engraver at the sign of the Golden Head in Covent Garden. It was from this address that he produced most of his work and published the majority of his prints. He specialised in mezzotint engravings after his contemporaries and the old master painters. He died, a relatively young man, in 1765 and was interred at Hampstead churchyard.£650