Henry Fielding

1707 (Sharpham, England) – 1754 (Lisbon)

Fielding (also a notable reforming magistrate) was central to the development of the novel as a literary form, and wrote the first comic novel in English. Richardson, his equally significant contemporary, was a literary rival and shamelessly parodied by Fielding, yet was warmly praised in a famous letter from him. Montagu, his cousin, was a friend and valued counsellor. The socially more outgoing Hogarth painted his portrait; precisely how well they knew each other is unclear (despite parallels in their work). Garrick, a close friend, acted in one of his plays, and appears to have done Fielding various professional favours.