John Samuel Hayward (1778-1822) While remaining an amateur artist, John Samuel Hayward had a surprisingly high status in the London art world of the first two decades of the nineteenth century, befriending Joshua Cristall and Thomas Girtin among others. As a floor cloth manufacturer, he provided canvas for the large-scale panoramic paintings that were popular at the time. As an artist, he produced his own – collaborative – panoramas, exhibited watercolours at the Royal Academy of Arts, and took an active part in the pioneering Sketching Society.
John Samuel Hayward was the eldest of the five surviving children of John and Elizabeth Hayward. John Hayward had been a tobacconist until his marriage, in 1770, to Elizabeth, the only daughter of Samuel Barnes, a carpet and floor cloth manufacturer of 37 Newington Causeway, Southwark. John was then taken into the business and, on the death of his father-in-law in 1778, became its proprietor.
When John Hayward died in 1794, he was succeeded by Thomas Hayward, who may have been a brother. A decade later, Thomas Hayward also had a floor cloth manufactory at 195 Whitechapel Road, Tower Hamlets. (Thomas was a musical amateur, and made these premises available for the first British concert performance of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in 1805.) Southwark and Tower Hamlets, to the south and east of London, were both important centres for the production of ‘floor cloth’, the precursor to oilcloth and linoleum.
John Samuel Hayward seems to have been well educated – for he was fluent in French and Italian – and brought up to work in the family business. Eventually, he was able to describe himself on his business card as a ‘Floor Cloth and Canvas Manufacturer, House Painter and Decorator, and Supplier of Portable Temples, Ball Rooms, Pavillions, Domes, Treillage Balconies, Awnings and Covered Ways, any of which could be erected in any part of the kingdom’. So he came to combine art and commerce.
The young Hayward spent some time studying pattern design at a calico print works at Old Ford, Tower Hamlets, and there he befriended the budding young artist, Joshua Cristall. Later, Cristall moved in with Mr Lacklan, a print designer, who lived at 28 Surrey Street (now Blackfriars Street), Southwark – close to Hayward’s home in Newington Causeway. Cristall received some support from Lacklan during his formative years as an artist, a period that included the production of a panorama of Constantinople, painted in collaboration with Hayward and others, and displayed at the Great Room, Spring Gardens (near what is now Trafalgar Square). Panoramas had become the rage in 1792, when the Scottish painter, Robert Barker, displayed his all-encompassing paintings of Edinburgh in Castle Street, off Leicester Square.
Painting mainly in watercolour in his spare time, Hayward exhibited figure subjects and especially landscapes at the Royal Academy from 1798 to 1816. His early style (before 1880) has been compared to that of Samuel Hieronymus Grimm, while his subjects were informed by his extensive travels, which seem to have begun with a visit to the Isle of Wight in 1799.
By 1800, Hayward had made the acquaintance of Thomas Girtin. They certainly spent time together in North Wales in July 1800, in the company of Sir George Beaumont, and again in Paris in the winter of 1801-2, while Hayward was on business (and where he saw panoramas of Paris and Lyons). Soon after, Girtin made use of Hayward’s premises in Newington Causeway to paint his panorama of London, known as the Eidometropolis, which was exhibited at the Great Room, Spring Gardens. Hayward is likely to have supplied the canvas for Girtin’s panorama, and may also have given him assistance in painting it. Certainly, he would go on to work on other panoramas with James Demaria, the scene painter, who had trained with Thomas Malton at Drury Lane and in turn trained David Cox at the Birmingham Theatre. A panorama of Paris by Demaria and Hayward was displayed at the Haymarket in spring 1802.
A year after his return from his first trip to Italy in 1802, Hayward was elected to the Sketching Society, becoming its Secretary. Originally founded in 1799 by Girtin (who died in 1803), and known initially as ‘The Brothers’, the society was under the Presidency of John Sell Cotman at the time of Hayward’s election. As Girtin had influenced Cotman, so Cotman now influenced Hayward, though Hayward’s drawings, of – for instance – Tivoli, also proved inspiring to Cotman. Cristall was another member of the society, and he too influenced Hayward’s artistic development.
Through the opening decade of the nineteenth century, Hayward made frequent travels, which he recorded in sketchbooks. In June 1803, he visited Scotland, taking in the Lake District and Liverpool on the return journey. A year later, he returned to Paris, going out from Southampton and returning by way of the Isle of Wight. In August 1805, he travelled to Ireland, staying in Dublin, and exploring County Wicklow and County Kildare. Then, two years later, in autumn 1807, a trip through the West Country, as far west a Penzance, inspired some of his most attractive watercolour sketches.
From 1810, when he returned to North Wales, Hayward seemed to focus on favourite haunts; for, in September 1811, he made drawings in and around Plymouth, while in August 1816, he set off on his last long tour, travelling through France and Italy to Rome, despite suffering from gout. He was accompanied on this five-month journey by the architect, Joseph Gwilt, who produced Notitia architectonica italiana (1818) as a result.
Hayward had continued as a member of the Sketching Society following its reconstitution – by Francis Stevens and the Chalon brothers in 1808 – as the Society for the Study of Epic and Pastoral Design. Attending meetings until 1820, he died two years later. His collection and library were sold in auction at Christie’s on 27 June 1822 and 26-28 February 1823.
His work is represented in the collections of the British Museum, while the V&A holds an archive of manuscripts, including Hayward’s illustrated journal of his 1816-17 tour of France and Italy, and biographical material compiled by Robert and Joseph Howard Barnes. The V&A also holds ‘Papers in connection with the early floor cloth manufacture’ as arranged by Robert Barnes.