Giuseppe Baretti

1 portrait

Giuseppe Baretti, after Sir Joshua Reynolds, early 1770s - NPG 6248 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Giuseppe Baretti

after Sir Joshua Reynolds
oil on canvas, early 1770s
29 1/2 in. x 24 3/4 in. (750 mm x 630 mm)
Bequeathed by Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, 5th Baron Kenyon, 1994
Primary Collection
NPG 6248


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Sitterback to top

  • Giuseppe Baretti (1719-1789), Writer and friend of Dr Johnson. Sitter associated with 5 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

Originally from Turin, Baretti came to London in 1751 and became a member of the circle of Joshua Reynolds and Dr Johnson. In 1760 his highly successful Dictionary of the English and Italian Language was published and he returned to Italy. Returning to Britain six years later, in 1769 Baretti stabbed a pimp to death in a street brawl and his acquittal of the charge of murder was largely due to the testimonials given to the court by Burke, Garrick, Johnson and Reynolds. It was Johnson who introduced Baretti to the wealthy Thrale family with whom he resided between 1773-6 as tutor in Italian and Spanish. Henry Thrale commissioned this portrait for the series in his library at Streatham Park. Baretti, whose eyesight was poor, is shown reading a book close to his face, a device which intensifies the suggestion of concentration.

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1770back to top

Current affairs

Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton resigns as Prime Minister and is succeeded by Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford.

Art and science

Oliver Goldsmith publishes his poem The Deserted Village.
Philosopher and politician Edmund Burke publishes Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents discussing the limits of the King's authority.
17-year-old Thomas Chatterton, later hailed as a significant poet, commits suicide in a London garret.
Thomas Gainsborough paints his portrait of Jonathan Buttall, which later becomes known as The Blue Boy.

International

'Townshend duties' on imports into the colonies are repealed, except for the duty on tea. However, this concession is soon followed by the Boston Massacre, in which British troops fire into an unruly crowd in Boston, killing five.
Captain Cook reaches the eastern coast of Australia, at a place which he names Botany Bay. He discovers the Great Barrier Reef when HMS Endeavour runs onto it. Cook claims New South Wales for the British.

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