ANTHONY HENLEY ESQ - BY J. SMITH AFTER G. KNELLER.

 

17th century mezzotint portrait of  Anthony Henley Esq by J. Smith after the painting by  G. Kneller dated 1694.

Anthony Henley (1667-1711) was son of Sir Robert Henley of the Grange, near Alresford Hampshire.  At Oxford he studied classical literature, particularly poetry. Coming to London, Henley was welcomed by the wits, and was on good terms with the Earl of Dorset  and Earl of Sunderland. After marrying he went into politics. He sat for Andover from 1698 to 1700, and for Weymouth and MElcombe Regis from 5 February 1702. Henley was a Whig, and Tory opponents made strenuous but unsuccessful efforts to displace him at Weymouth, and in 1710 they unsuccessfully petitioned against his return. On 14 December 1709 he moved the address to Queen Anne, urging some dignity in the church for Benjamin Hoadly, based on his justification of Revolution principles.

Henley was  am member of the illustrious Kit - Cat Club and one of the foremost Whig wits. He welcomed Jonathan Swift's appearance in London life after the publication of the Tale of a Tub. He once said of Swift that he would be "a beast for ever, after the order of Melchisedeck", and Swift reported the witticism in the Journal to Stella. Letters from Henley in 1708–10 are in Swift's Works.

The Purcells had patronage from Henley, who was musical. The songs composed by Daniel Purcell for the opera of  Brutus of Alba were dedicated on their publication in 1696 to Henley and Richard Norton, a friend; and his music for John Oldmixon's opera of  The Grove, or Love's Paradise, was worked out on a visit to Henley and other friends in Hampshire. He himself wrote several pieces for music, and almost finished Daniel Purcell's opera of Alexander. Samuel Garth dedicated to him his poem The Dispensary. The dashing Anthony died of apoplexy in August 1711. 

Mezzotint
Framed: 19 in x 15 in 48cm x 38cm.
Executed 1694.

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