You have six days left in which to listen to the last episode in the series of Professor Amanda Vickery’s programme, Voices from the Old Bailey. This week’s episode was recorded in 67 Dean Street, in Soho, now a private club –Blacks– which was once the home of Sir Joshua Reynolds, where Dr Johnson and his circle often met. Here is a photograph of a print I have of these convivial evenings…..
There they might also have met some of London’s most famous conmen -men whose stories were as plausible as George Wickham, conman supreme, whose fates are shared here…..Alexander Day and Dr William Dodd, The Macaroni Preacher, forging Lord Chesterfield’s signature in a case of 18th century identity theft…and the intriguing and saucy story of the scholar, Guiseppi “Joseph” Baretti, at whose trial for murder both Dr Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds gave evidence. Here is Reynolds’ portrait of him:
He was propositioned and attacked in the Haymarket by a prostitute, stabbing two men with a fruit knife, one of whom died. He was eventually acquitted and was defended by Reynolds, David Garrick, Oliver Goldsmith and once again Dr Johnson,who alluded to his shortsightedness, which Reynolds depicted above.
The discussion, as ever, is lively and great fun and well as being informative . I will be quite sad when next week Lord Bragg returns…..
Home from Bath and about to embark on another journey, I will post from tomorrow about some of the wonderful places we saw and things we did ;-)