Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Holland

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.

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Henry Fox, 1st Baron Holland (1705-74)
Politician; educated at Eton, contemporary of Pitt and Fielding; ruined by gambling, went abroad; MP from 1735; secretary-general of works, 1737; secretary of war, 1746; member of privy council, 1747; supported Cumberland at the death of Frederick Prince of Wales, 1751; led the Commons in Newcastle's ministry of 1755; resigned, 1757; as paymaster-general of the forces, amassed a large fortune; prominent in Bute's ministry, 1761-63, and in the peace of Paris, 1763; created Baron Holland, 1763; bought Holland House, 1767.

2075 After Sir Joshua Reynolds, c.1762
Oil on canvas, 49 ¾ x 39 ¾ in. (1264 x1010 mm); heavy slanting eyebrows, grey-brown eyes, full face, grey wig with centre-parting to shoulders; black overcoat, open, over scarlet suit edged with gold lace, white lace cravat and wrist ruffles; an armchair covered in crimson damask, near-matching drapery behind, a grey pilaster, left background; on a table, front left, covered in crimson cloth a standish, and letter, with writing indicated, on which he rests his right hand; lit from top right.

Fox sat to Reynolds in 1762 and 1764. [1] NPG 2075 is an early copy rather than a studio version of the portrait in the collection of Teresa, Viscountess Galway formerly at Holland House (173). A fine full-face portrait in the same collection (formerly Holland House, 162) was dated by Graves [2] also to 1762, no doubt on the basis of sittings mentioned in correspondence. [3] The painting, however, shows the sitter holding an envelope addressed The Right Honble./ Lord Holland, a title received 17 April 1763. The date 1764 which Waterhouse [4] associates with the portrait may well relate to a sitting for finishing. A repetition, also formerly at Holland House (171), belonged to Miss Fox, sister of the 3rd Lord Holland.

Condition: discolourations on the chin and in the left background; small losses in the corners and in the chair, bottom right; the crimson of the tablecloth, except where shielded by the frame, is faded; relined and revarnished, 1925.

Collections: bought (through Leggatts) Phillips Son and Neale, 26 November 1924, lot 459, from St Anne's Hill House, Chertsey, property of the Hon. Stephen Powys. St Anne's was the home of the sitter's youngest son C.J. Fox; by descent through his widow (d.1842) to the 4th and last Lord Holland who died 1859 leaving everything to his widow; she devised property to the Hon. Leopold William Henry [Fox-] Powys, [5] uncle of the Hon. Stephen Powys, afterwards 6th Baron Lilford.

Literature: Catalogue of Pictures Belonging to the Earl of Ilchester (includes Melbury etc.) 1883, with Addenda and Corrigenda . . . Melbury, 1939; Catalogue of Pictures belonging to the Earl of Ilchester at Holland House, 1904 with Addenda and Corrigenda, 1939.

Iconography
Portraits of Holland, who sat to the leading artists of the day, survive principally in the Ilchester collections descended to Teresa, Viscountess Galway, only surviving child of the 7th Earl of Ilchester. These include Melbury, home of the sitter's elder brother Stephen Fox, created 1st Earl of Ilchester, 1756, and Holland House which had passed, 1889, on the death of the widow of the 4th and last Lord Holland to the 5th Earl of Ilchester. [6] The house was destroyed by enemy action in World War II.

A portrait, whole length, with gamekeeper and dogs, was painted in Rome by Antonio David in 1732 as was the portrait of Stephen Fox's friend the Hon. Charles Hamilton. Both were transferred to Melbury (117, 113) in 1872 from Redlynch, another Ilchester seat. A miniature by Zincke, with a similar head, is in the Bristol collection (Ickworth, 34). A pastel by Pond signed and dated 1737 (Melbury, 33) makes the sitter look rather young for his age. In the well-known Hogarth group of Lord Hervey (see Iconography) and his friends painted c.1738, Holland is shown holding a plan, an allusion perhaps to his post as surveyor-general of works. Ranelagh Barret produced a copy (Melbury, 40); a small oval portrait, unattributed and formerly at Holland House (356), is of about the same date. A three-quarter, given by Lord Rivers to Melbury (135) from Mistley Hall, Essex, in 1856, now on loan to the Gallery (NPG 2078), is very plausibly attributed to Eccardt after Vanloo but whether he painted it under Vanloo's supervision before his master's return to France in 1742, or independently later, remains in doubt. A head by Liotard owned by Walpole was still at Strawberry Hill in 1804. [7] The engraving by McArdell is lettered Liotard pinxt 1754 (CS 71) and another, artist unknown, was published by S. Harding in 1798. The two Reynolds portraits were painted between 1762 and 1764 (see above). On 5 May 1761 Walpole wrote to G. Montagu that Hogarth 'had promised, if Mr Fox would sit as he liked, to make as good a picture as Vandyke or Rubens could'. [8] A head, engraved by J. Haynes in 1782 (O'D 1), formerly in Ireland's possession, was given to Elizabeth, Lady Holland by General Fox. [9] Another version acquired by John Calcraft, a political associate of Holland's until 1763, is now in the collection of Major D.C.D. Ryder. A head by Ramsay, hitherto known only by McArdell's engraving of 1762 (CS 72) appeared at Parke-Bernet's, 25 September 1968, lot 18.

A small whole length of a man in a garden with classical pavilion, with John Anderson of New York in 1913, was said to represent the sitter. The portrait was signed and dated Edward Penny, 1756, but nothing more is known of it.

Notes
1. Leslie and Taylor, I, pp.218, 239.
2. Catalogue . . . Holland House, 1904.
3. Holland House . . . Addenda . . ., 1939.
4. Waterhouse, 1941, p.54.
5. GEC, VI, p.545 and note c; Burke, Peerage, 1921 p.1376.
6. GEC, loc. cit. and p.538, note c.
7. Harding, II, p.20I.
8. Holland House . . . Addenda . . ., (164) 1939.
9. Holland House . . . (164).