William Beckford

1 portrait

William Beckford, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1782 - NPG 5340 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

William Beckford

by Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, 1782
28 5/8 in. x 23 in. (727 mm x 584 mm)
Purchased, 1980
Primary Collection
NPG 5340


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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.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D691: William Beckford (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

Subjects & Themesback to top

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