Walker: James Lonsdale (1777-1839)
Extract from an out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, 1985, pp. 322-3. Subject to funding, it is hoped to make the full text of this catalogue available online.
James Lonsdale (1777-1839)
1854 Self-portrait, circa 1810
Miniature in oils on card, 3 x 2 ¼ in (75 x 59 mm), head to right aged about 35, black coat, white neckcloth, dark brown hair, brown eyes, pale complexion, crimson background lower right.
Inscribed by a later hand in ink on the wooden backing (now in RP 1854): James Lonsdale/ Painter/ painted by/ himself about/ A.D. 1810.
Condition: slightly torn lower left, no technical report in RP (August 1980)
Collections: family possession and bequeathed by Horatio Walter Lonsdale (? grandson) in 1920.
This is apparently the only certainly recorded miniature by Lonsdale who is normally regarded as a straight portrait painter exhibiting regularly at the RA 1802-38 and SBA from 1824; some of his SBA exhibits are listed by Jane Johnson as 'drawing, watercolour or miniature'. It shows the artist aged about 35 and was clearly used as a basis for a later self-portrait, with sparse hair and more mature face, now in the Lancaster Museum and Art Gallery, published as a mezzotint by Charles Turner 1830 but probably painted considerably earlier. Another portrait by his son R.T. Lonsdale, exhibited RA 1838 (29) and offered to the NPG in 1931, shows him almost bald, with dark neckcloth and monocle (photograph in NPG).
Incised on the back: E.H. BAILY.R.A./ SCULP – 1844.
Collections: his son J.J. Lonsdale and bequeathed by him, 1887.
Baily exhibited a plaster model RA 1831 (1198) which may possibly be the original though the finished bust looks to be of a man older than 54; it may have been deliberately aged during the process of transference to the posthumous marble in 1844.
1805 'Mr Lonsdale' (possibly him or his father) by James Lonsdale, exh. RA 1805 (49).
1818 Bust by L.A. Goblet, exh. RA 1818 (1083).
1824 Drawing or miniature by H. Burch, exh. SBA 1824 (447).
1838 Oil by R.T. Lonsdale, exh. RA 1838 (29).
RA Royal Academy
RP Registered packets in NPG archive, containing papers related to each portrait
SBA Society of British Artists