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Fine Art Sale Lot 490


WILLIAM WOODGATE (1804-1861) PORTRAIT OF CITY OF LONDON TOASTMASTER AND MASTER OF CEREMONIES JAMES TOOLE bust length, signed on a pillar W WOODGATE Pinxit, oil on canvas, 90 x 69cm, sold with a lithograph portrait of James Toole by Day & Haghe, c1840 and a print of J L Toole (3)James Toole (1796-1847) occupies a unique position in the history of his profession. By sheer force of character, combined with a genial manner he became the most famous toastmaster and master of ceremonies in early Victorian England. Such was the esteem in which he was held during the 22 years in which he was employed by the Hon East India Company and then subsequently that he became a celebrity in his own right, constantly booked to officiate at city functions and throughout England. He was a particular favourite of the Duke of Cambridge. An article in the Pictorial Times (1847) reported "By his peculiar and happy expression, and perfectly original style, he was the first to establish the business of toastmaster; and the extraordinary success with which he carried it out for the last seventeen years, at the city festivals in act all parts of England, has recently created several copyists....As a toastmaster, his equal will never be found. He was a kind hearted and generous man, and subscribed to a great number of charitable societies." He was the father of John Laurence Toole (1830-1906) the actor and theatre manager.The artist William Woodgate is recorded as a London painter of Historical subjects. He exhibited one work at the Royal Society of British Artists (Suffolk Street) in 1827. In the 1851 Census he described himself as a portrait painter, aged 47, living with his wife Francis [sic] aged 40 residing at Milton in the parish of Gravesend, the town of his birth.

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