by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1782
28 5/8 in. x 23 in. (727 mm x 584 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- William Beckford (1760-1844), Writer, collector and eccentric dilettante. Sitter in 2 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), Painter and first President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 1413 portraits, Sitter associated with 38 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Beckford sat to Reynolds in February 1782, soon after his return from the Grand Tour and the year that Vathek was published. The portrait was exhibited that year at the Royal Academy and remained in Beckford's possession until his death. Before it was engraved in 1835, the background was repainted. This overpaint was only discovered when the portrait was acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in 1980. Cleaning revealed the sitter's flamboyant pose and the sky. It was said to be Beckford's favourite image of himself.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 45
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 103
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 103
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 44
Exhibitions and displays
- Simon Schama’s Face of Britain
Until 4 January 2016