Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Egmont

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

ContentsForewordIntroductionCatalogue scopeAbbreviations> Arrangement of entries>


Sir John Perceval, 1st Earl of Egmont (1683-1748)
Politician; a devout Protestant, and confidant of the Queen and other members of the royal family; MP for Cork, 1704-15, and for Harwich 1727-34; created baron, 1715, viscount, 1723, and earl in the Irish peerage, 1733; with General Oglethorpe founded the colony of Georgia, 1732; his Diary is a valuable record of House of Commons debates between 1730 and 1738.

1956 By Vincenzo Felici, 1707
Marble bust, 33 in (838 mm) high, including socle; pupils incised, well proportioned face, tight curls to nape of neck; lace-edged drapery loose over his left shoulder revealing tunic and breast-plate, the latter with grotesque face of an old man, centre.

Incised on the back: IOANNES . PERCIVALE / AET . SVE . XXIII at the top, and below: VINCENTIVS / FELIX . FECIT / ANNO . 1707 / R(OMAE) .

Felici (Vincentius Felix) was a pupil of the Roman sculptor Domenico Guidi and carried on the workshop after his master's death in 1701. The bust, in the antique style, was presumably taken in Rome in the last year of Perceval's grand tour.

Condition: small weatherings or flaws in marble, particularly on the forehead, right, and on the tip of the nose; the end of the inscription is rubbed; cleaned and stone socle fitted, 1922.

Collections: given 1922, by Sir Eric MacLagan through the National Art Collections Fund after its discovery at a small London dealer's by Mr (afterwards Sir) Leigh Ashton.

Literature: Diary of Viscount Percival afterwards First Earl of Egmont, HMC 63, 1920-23.

Iconography
A painting in Lord Lambton's collection corresponds with the three-quarter length by Kneller of 1704, engraved by Smith (CS 200). A head and shoulders in a painted oval, probably based on the same sitting, is presumably related both to the portrait recorded by Musgrave at King's Weston [1] and to the picture in the De Clifford sale, Christie's, 20 April 1833, 2nd day, part of lot 23, 'Kneller—the Earl of Egmont—oval'. A portrait similarly described was sold from the Egmont collection at Christie's, 12 December 1930, lot 105. Another, with his wife, crudely painted and attributed to Hudson, was at Christie's, 24 February 1933, lot 49. Assuming the inscription giving the sitter's age to be correct, it was painted in 1738.

In his diary, under 16 February and 8 June 1733, Egmont writes of sittings to Hans Hysing. He also records payment in February 1734 'for a copy of my picture (a head) which cost 4 guineas'. [2] The three-quarter length in peer's parliamentary robes engraved by Faber junior in 1734 may be connected with these entries and with the oil in the collection, 1932, of Dr J.S. Pearson, which was probably one of the items, perhaps lot 101, in the Egmont sale: 'Sir G. Kneller, Portrait of 1st Earl of Egmont In brown coat with Peer's robes . . .’. In the engraving there is a noticeable pimple under the left eye. Egmont also mentions, under 28 May 1740: 'Sat for my picture in crayons to Mr. Wills', [3] i.e. the Rev. James Wills; the picture referred to is apparently lost. Egmont is included in a 1740 inventory of portraits at Claydon and also appears as chairman (seated, extreme left) in the 'Georgia Council of 1734', [4] by William Verelst (see Hales, Stephen, Iconography) now in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, USA. He is possibly one of the figures in Hogarth's painting 'The Gaols Committee', 1729 (see Groups, NPG926).

Notes
1. BM Add MS6391, f.66r.
2. Egmont Diaries, I, pp.329, 385; II, p.154.
3. Ibid, p.146.
4. Perhaps finished 1740, when the artist was seeking payment, ibid, III, p.119; in progress in 1735-36, when Egmont sat, ibid, II, pp.171, 175, 258, to 'Mr Verelst' whom the editor equates with the Council's accountant, Harman Verelst, ibid, II, p.118 and passim. The Verelsts still need disentangling, but, unlike his brother William, this Harman is not otherwise known as a painter. The picture at Winterthur is signed, bottom right, Wm. Verelst pinxit.